Among the choices for a patio surfacing, there's nothing more elegant than dressy Italian ceramic tile. The polished, high-style appearance of so many Italian imports is a perfect complement to formal indoor-outdoor settings. And although these tiles can integrate smoothly with a number of house styles in a variety of locations, they seem especially suited to homes and patios found in warmer regions or those designed around a Mediterranean theme.
Their light, bright finishes and decorative motifs make an attractive backdrop for garden accents with a southern European flair: wrought iron furnishings, hand-painted clay pots, and stone fountains and benches. And they are one of the few pavings that can travel seamlessly from indoor spaces to outside living areas without visual interruption.
Ceramic tile today benefits from sophisticated glazing and finishing techniques that make them extremely durable and easy to maintain. Like several other paving materials, however, tile can be slippery when wet. A number of tiles are available with textured and matte surfaces that provide better traction yet still offer sophisticated looks.