Living In The Womb Of The Earth | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Last time I took a group of American travelers to Italy we visited Matera, a medium size town in the region of Basilicata, in southern Italy. Matera is the largest town in this region and has been the capital town of Basilicata since 1806. The town lies in a small canyon, which has been eroded in the course of years by a small stream of water and that Canyon is called the Gravina. Matera is also known as the Subterranean City, due to its infamous homes created in the caves inside of the rocks of that canyon.

However, a few years ago, Hollywood and Italian Cinecitta’ chose Matera as the set for filming in 1964 of the The Gospel According to St Matthew  by Italian produce Pier Paolo Pasolini, and in 2004 for Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ.  Presently, another film is in production, the remake of historic 1959 blockbuster film Ben Hur, in which are now starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston.
In 1993 UNESCO declared Matera a World Heritage Site and last year it was nominated the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Due to all the new interests in the area, many activities and cultural initiatives have sprung up, like the World Book Fair of women writers from all over the world.

What really makes this area so distinctively interesting is not the formal Italian architecture found in Italy, in fact the historic center of the town does not have examples of buildings or palazzi of particular value or refinement, the interests lies in the homes made for poor people inside of caves in the canyon (Gravina), or else known as Sassi.  Those homes are examples of spontaneous architecture created out of necessity, where poor people were destined to live. Not having any place to go they excavated their homes inside of the womb of the earth. Visiting these ancient cave homes, one feels enveloped, embraced and a closed relationship with the womb of the earth. The original homes are made with local tufa stone, which is a particular calcareous limestone, malleable that gives out a feeling of warmth when is left exposed and not covered with other materials on top. Tufa stone gives out a feeling of authenticity and natural as nature created. It is not uncommon to find rock fossils of seashells in the tufa stones, which makes these homes so authentic.

As I said, poor people lived there, but during the ’60s and ‘70s the government offered them low-income housing arrangement with running water and electricity and little by little they vacated the caves for a better and more modern living in the town. Today, after Hollywood filming and Unesco recognition as World Heritage, local people are returning to cave living, making some big improvements with modern amenities. Now we see elegant hotels and restaurants being propped in there that are maintaining the characteristic of the caves.

If I were the designer remaking these cave homes, I would work with a warm palette that agrees with the warm tones of the tufa stone, using oxidized or etched copper as fixtures to recreate the patina of a corroding water stream. I would use opaque resins with oxides coating, type of Venetian style and for the floor I would use the typical street pavement of the area called chianche, very beautiful stones or handmade ancient terracotta without cooked waked on top. For the furniture I would choose shabby chic style. Although in general I do not much like it, especially when it is very distressed, I believe it would be the most compatible with the type of environments we are confronted in the “Sassi”.

The air in the “SAssi” area is mystical, it is impossible not to feel a strong attraction and bewitched by the surroundings. The energy that comes up from the earth is truly magical especially at night. Some of the visitors during my last trip to the area suggested that the Italian government should build a theatre in the canyon for aspiring actors from all over the world where they can practice their theatre plays. The mystical atmosphere is already there, they need to create the rest. Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-to-puglia-2/

Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Val Admiring World As a writer and cultural promoter of Puglia, my native land, it is my intention to let readers feel and experience a new ”wheel of emotions”. I want to encourage them to visit areas of Italy not beaten by massive tourism.  Through stories of art, architecture, fashion, food-wines, shopping, I want them to create their special adventures and live it up in Puglia! Check out my books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Katrina Perkins

A force of Nature, with intense acting skills.

Postcards from Italy---Natalia Sarkissian

stories, one postcard at a time

In So Many Words

Creative writing inspired by life, love, laughter ... and a horse named Shakespeare

Art Gowns

The Art of Glamorous Fantasy

Paula Acton

Scribblings of an Aspiring Author

MAGNO

"La flamme des cuisines."

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Murder at the Bijou - Three Ingredients I"

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

The Love of History

Another site/blog for loving history

Life is too short to drink bad wine

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world

daysandmonths

a journey of discovery with my camera...

yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Chasing Destino

I'll be outside of the mosh pit . . . waiting with bandaids and kleenex . . . I can also work magic with an ace bandage. Just sayin' . . .

this man's journey

Each journey has a story to tell. Each story has the possibility to bring about change, hope, joy, comfort, healing.

LEANNE COLE

Fine Art Photographer ~ Daring to be Different

Through Harold's Lens

Harold Green Photography

HarsH ReaLiTy

A Good Blog is Hard to Find

The Punchy Lands!

Embrace Your PUNCHY Nature

In Bruttium

Uncovering Calabria & The Mezzogiorno, One Toe At A Time. | By Adam Underhill

Design Secrets

fulfill your craving for a beautiful home

Decorating by Donna • Color Expert

A Virtual Color Expert who is highly specialized in designing color for your home.

Green Door Hospitality

Adventures in Everyday Entertaining

DEAR HUMAN

These letters are written to remind you just how much you matter, just how important you are, and just how beautiful the gift of life as a human is.

Tanamannya

Tanaman, Alam Semulajadi Dan Yang Berkaitan

Specifier Review

Architecture, Design & Innovation

%d bloggers like this: