Roman Tiled Patterns

We took a half-day tour of the Vatican with a local company we found online. It was in the afternoon, after another tour in the morning. We hadn’t had time to eat lunch. It was hot and there was a press of people. (The tour guide told us that something like 25,000 people a day visit the Vatican.) The first part of the tour was through some of the Vatican museums, filled with a crush of people. I must admit to zoning out a bit. Religious art is not my favorite and after looking at many paintings of death and destruction and long stories about God punishing so-and-so, I started admiring the floors.

I am a great lover of bird designs and this black and white tile designs really took my fancy. It seemed to me that each bird was a bit different. As we moved through the room, I was imaging the craftsman/men sitting on the floor, dreaming up variations for each charming black bird.

Sweet bird tiles

When someone quickly asks me what sort of quilts I like to make, I usually answer “hand appliqué”. Though I haven’t made one in quite some time, I do love to create them. This museum floor had a myriad of hexagon patterns, each with a different middle. They would make such a great quilt. Or a very wonderful hooked rug! Notice the irregularities of the tiny mosaic tiles. It makes for such an amazing texture.

Vatican tiles

These tiled designs are really fabulous, but I did not get as many pictures as I would have liked because the guards were yelling at us to move along! The colors and the textures of the tiles are a wonder. I really struggled with geometry in high school and I would never have been allowed to either cut or set this project.

Carpet like tiles

One room was filled with these lovely blue painted tiles. There was a different design in the center of the room, but there were too many feet on the floor to get a good picture. One thing that struck me as we walked through room after room of tiled floors, is how well they have withstood millions of feet. These blue tiles did show signs of wear in some places, but in the way of faded blue jeans or a well loved quilt.

Blue painted tiles


It was a wonderful vacation!!! Thanks for sharing it with us.



2 thoughts on “Roman Tiled Patterns

  1. I’m so glad you focused on the tiles instead of the religious art–way more interesting for me, too! I used to have a book about making quilts based on architectural elements and there was a section about floors and tiles. I wonder if I still have that book–I have to go look. I’m feeling inspired now!


    • Well good! I did take a class with a woman who had made lovely quilts from tiles. She was a math teacher – of course! 😮 I’m sorry to say that I didn’t finish it as it was very tedious to piece.


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