The history of the Portuguese traditional flooring goes back to the Roman period, but it was during the 19th century that it gained more prominence in Portugal. It was at this time that the stone laying technique in elaborate and complex patterns began to be widely used, especially in the urban areas of Lisbon and Porto.
Portuguese calçada is admired for its aesthetic beauty, durability, and the craftsmanship involved in its creation. Usually made with limestone stones cut by hand in small sizes and shapes, in order to create elaborate patterns, they are laid individually by calceteiros, the artisans specialized in this technique.
These patterns can be very simple, like chess, or very complex, like an image of an animal or an abstract design.
Portuguese paving is found all over Portugal, from the historical streets of the cities to the patios and gardens of private homes. However, it is most often associated with Lisbon, where mosaic paving is an iconic feature of the city. Portuguese calçada is so important to the city that it was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2011. In addition to being an integral part of the urban landscape in Portugal, the Portuguese calçada is also a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. The charm and beauty they add to Portuguese streets, squares and marginals is undeniable.
It is considered a unique form of artistic expression and a testimony of the craftsmanship passed down from generation to generation. The preservation and maintenance of Portuguese sidewalks are carefully supervised in order to protect this valuable heritage.
Portuguese traditional flooring continues to play an important role in Portugal’s cultural identity and in promoting tourism. It is a unique art form that combines traditional craft skills with urban design, making it a distinctive element and a testimony of Portuguese history and culture.
Preserving and valuing the Portuguese sidewalk not only keeps alive an important cultural tradition, but also contributes to the identity and beauty of Portuguese cities.