Numerous works which have characterised binders in historical buildings (Fratini and Giovannini, 1990; Chiari et al., 1992; 1996a; 1996b; Collepardi, 1993; Fratini et al., 1994; Mannoni and Giannichedda, 1996; Franzini et al., 1999; 2000a; 2000b) reveal that the production of such materials, and of mortars and plasters, was not a simple process. There is increasing evidence that blends of natural materials were studied in ancient building sites and that different technical solutions were adopted to resolve specific problems. The reported case studies represent a variety of construction contexts and periods, and different issues were addressed in each study. Each construction site found a unique solution which was obtained by «correcting» the parameters of locally available geomaterials and involved the study of complex analytical strategies suited to each specific case. The study of hydraulic mortars used to construct the Tower of Pisa is an example of how scientific investigation can help reconstruct ancient production recipes that were never recorded in any manual of the period.
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