Sanpietrini are pleasure and pain of Roman people. I think there are two philosophical currents on this matter: the “pros” which underlines the beauty and the memory of ancient Roman roads made of these little basalt blocks and the “cons” which would like to pulverize them because of their lack of functionality.These flints (here in Rome “serci) are truncated pyramid shaped and the dimensions are 12X12X17 cm. The pyramid shape comes from the laying of the flints because they were placed in the sand without lime so in case of hollow it was easy to remove them, put the sand in the hollow and place them again. Romans planned their roads in a safe and practical way.
Unfortunately nowadays this flints are more and more replaced by new sanpietrini processed in a different way. They are very dangerous when it rains because you can slide on the road and they are very noisy when heavy means of transport run. I feel them under the sole of my foot. Once I remember I was going back home and it started to snow; I walked through Piazza San Pietro in a very difficult way but I arrived at home luckly uninjured: sneakers, snow and sanpietrini are a devilish mixture. Nevertheless I think it’s a particular thing walking on pieces of history.
I was forgetting that the name sanpietrini is due to the first laying of the flints in Piazza San Pietro at the beginning of 1700.