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 the 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

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New Life To Crochet | Valentina Cirasola |Designer

Girl-Pink-Green-1aWelcome to my Friday Fashion.
Crochet has picked up popularity and no longer looks like grandmother’s blanket of the ’60s or doilies of the ‘1800s. The techniques are the same with a new modern twist, in fact, on Simona Barbieri’s site I saw some very pretty knitted and crocheted purses
http://www.twin-set.it/eng/catalogue/fw14/accessori

I am into crochet again, I had abandoned it for so many years, my life was evolving and playtime was limited. Now my life is still evolving in a new direction, I am into fashion again and I have combined it with my interior design business. I started crocheting again, it is a relaxing thing to do, allows me moments to think of life issues and I like the creations, which come out of my mind without a pattern, without plans and often I can’t repeat the same thing again. I can say I make one of a kind piece.

I wear scarves from autumn to the end of spring and even in cooler summer evenings. I thought it would be nice to wear something that resembles a scarf, but it really is not. I call my new creations COLLIERS. The word refers to chunky and imposing jewelry, mine are made in clusters of yarn, fabrics, beads and various items as I fancy, their function is to keep the neck warm and to embellish the clothes. These photos represent some of my work. The rest of my creations is in my Etsy store, take a look, I would appreciate it https://www.etsy.com/shop/ValentinaExpressions
Ciao,
Valentina
https://valentinadesigns.com/services#fashion-services

 

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Val LeopardValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, working in the USA and Europe. Born in Italy in a family of artists, style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her many years of experience led her to offer consultations in both specializations and now she can remodel homes as well as personal images. To better help people in the world, she offers consultations online. She is the author of three books. Get your copy of Valentina’s book on colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/qNxXrB
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Italian Christmas Market | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

The first of its kind, inspired by markets all over Italy and Europe, this Italian Christmas Market makes its first début on Dec. 7 and 8, 2013.
A group of Italian women called D.I.V.E., expatriate from Italy living abroad organized the market.

The expositors all expatriate Italian women as well, gifted with unusual talents will present their custom-made creations for the first time. The market is a showcase of “Made In Italy By The Bay”, all items strictly made by artisans to promote Italian creativity. We can enumerate a variety of:

• artisanal Italian gourmet foods
• handmade jewelry
• Italian fashion accessories, luxury bags
• Italian language books
• several unique craft items all made by Italian Artisans
• travel (villa rentals, customized travel and weddings)

• I am one of the D.I.V.E. and will be there showcasing my three books, custom-made crocheted fashion items and personalized trips to the southern region of Puglia, Italy.

The Italian Christmas Market will take place at the Italo-Americano Museum, Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA. Dec. 7-8, 2013. Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm.

If you are closer to San Francisco, please join us for two days of fun. There will be a storyteller to entertain the kids, while parents shop. If nothing else, being among an Italian community of highly spirited women will put you in a cheerful state of mind. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValOperaStampValentina Cirasola is a trained Fashion and Interior Designer, working in USA and Europe. Born in Italy and in a family of artists, style surrounded her since the beginning of her life. Her decades of experience led her to offer consultations in both fashion and interior. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. She is the author of three books, all available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Plug me up, I will light up | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

PlugSocket By ValentinaWe entered the room as the Plug and Socket set and sure enough we turned the heads of all the guests already at the party. The costume party’s requirement was only one, to come dressed in something original.
Everyone chose a recognizable costume from 1700s style to British Bobby, from pop rock stars look-alike to the animal world and ridiculous costumes portraying political people. Everyone was beautiful in their expensive costumes. My friend and I were 18 years of age, we didn’t have a way to buy an expensive costume and one week of notice was not enough to sew something extravagant either. My friend was knowledgeable in electricity and electronics, I was the mind and I came up with the Socket and Plug set idea.

We started to work frantically, we only had one week to perfect our creation. It was nothing more than painted card boxes and a mechanism of electrical wires that turned on and off the light bulb sitting on my head. I sewed the cap with insulating material to protect myself from possible circuit shortage and my friend wired me up. The set was white and underneath we choose to dress in all white to keep distraction away from our creation.  I imagine by now you understood I was the socket and my male friend was the plug. We danced all night to the tunes of rock and roll music of the era.

Often during the dance we got closer to each other to show off our light bulb flipping on and off when my friend plugged his “large male prong” into my socket. What? That’s exactly what the purpose of the costume was, to push laughs and some funny comments on how many times my friend plugged me up in one evening.  At times I saw a few of the guests rolled on the floor for so much laughter. We had no idea a draw at the end of the night would appoint us as the best costume.

We had no camera at that time to immortalize the moment, we were young and didn’t think we would need the memories. Luckily, I found my drawing and the fun continues. I hope you have a great costume and a place to go celebrate. Happy Halloween. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

 

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

JollyHatSmallAs an Italian designer and true to my origins, I am well-known to bring originality to people’s homes, but that’s not where I stop and any situation is a perfect opportunity to design something out of the ordinary. If you are up to it, I will design something unforgettable for any of your occasions. Check out my three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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