The plenty of travertine, joined with the famous thermal hot springs, made the fortune of Rapolano from the ancient times to nowadays and strongly conditioned not only the architecture and the landscape, but also economy, social structure, history and art. This stone is therefore a substantial part of Rapolanese building trade, applied to urban furniture, paths, upright coverings, house furniture and objects; Rapolano has also housed for a long time an important stonecutters school.

Already in Etruscan-Roman age the quarries were occasionally used: we could think about the tumulus of Molinello, that has its foundation over a circular travertine bank posed in VII century B.C., or about the necropolis of Poggio Pinci, of V century B.C. The first documents talking about this material to be used for very important buildings (such as the church of Santa Maria in Provenzano in Siena, the church of San Biagio in Montepulciano or the Cathedral of Pienza) date back to the end of XVI Century.

Made of travertine is also the little Romanesque pieve of Sant'Andreino alle Cave (St. Little Andrew at the Quarries), hidden between cypresses and olive trees in a very suggestive landscape.

The quarrying of travertine, which from XIX Century kept on more and more permanently, and moreover deeply tied to the ability of the stone-cutters, achieves its greatest development after the II World War thanks to both the introduction of new techniques, such as helical thread used to cut great banks, and the massive use of this stone in post-war reconstruction. So quarries become the first economy trade in Rapolano and during the 60's they employ no less than 1,200 workers. A clear social and anthropological transformation follows: the population, once most farmers, becomes most of all working class, life habits change as well as house settlements and human presence in the landscape all around.

Now the quarrying trade employs a few hundred people, however it remains one of the distinctive marks of Rapolano, as you can see at the "Cava dell'Oliviera" ("Quarry of Olive-yard"): it's a natural theatre with precipices, old quarrying areas and springs which has often been used as scenery for various shows during the past years.

Recently, the project "Tradere" is trying to create an online archive in order to preserve the traditional crafts connected with travertine processing and to map the stone works realized by contemporary sculptors.

The old route of the Via Lauretana passes over here: probably founded in Etruscan times, then used and improved by Romans after the waterlogging of Chiana Valley as useful link between Cortona and Siena. On the way particularly noticeable is the castle of San Gimignanello.