In Italy, a zoccolatura, a baseboard or SKIRTing board (I like the 'skirt' in the word) is often used at the base of facades. Some baseboards are simply made of grey plaster, some are made of stones of other shape or tonality than the rest of the facade.
Below you see an older picture of our street. In front (right) is part of our palazzo, with the former zoccolatura of grey plaster. The neighbouring palazzo even has no zoccolatura.
The church, next by, Chiesa Carmine, has simply used brown paint to indicate a high baseboard (here behind the statue of Padre Pio, I need to find a better picture):
Another example of a beautiful zoccolatura can be offered by the main church of Lipari of Isole Eolie (see above first picture).
Well, well, and now we have our own new skirting board.
Made of my 'favorite' material, my grandfathers grave stone.
We inherited a few plates for the finishing of the balustrade from the previous owner. And it went on and on, for consistency, with window sills and door sills (remember my post about now I have to live with this) and now it is the zoccolatura:
These granite stones are not shiny. They have been treated with flames and the material on the top of the surface, due to thermal expansion, come out leaving an uneven surface. This is how the windows sills should have been treated.
I have to see it on site.
And if I still don't like it, my solution for the 'wrong skirt':
Put back the church's benches in place and the stones become invisible.
Again: A house that is older than 200 years should be restored in a way that preserves the old charm, the patina, the age ! - Sometimes less is more ! - Otherwise I can go on a green grassland and build a new house that suits my needs. - Of course it is also the dilemma of being not on the construction site myself.
Some more zoccolatura can be found around in my flickr set Italian doors.