tag archives: sassi di matera

 

when you think of puglia (apulia), you may envision the distinctive whitewashed stone huts with conical roofs in alberobello.

trulli | alberobello | BA | italy

foreground | view of the rione monti district from the rione aia piccola district

background | chiesa sant’antonio da padova (church of saint anthony of padua)

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

there are over 1600 trulli of alberobello (trulli di alberobello) in the unesco world heritage site.

maps via unesco and geoplan.it

 

1030 trulli are concentrated in the rione monti district.

and, another 590 trulli are located in the rione aia piccola district.

trulli | alberobello | BA | italy

view of the rione monti district from piazza giangirolamo

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

trulli | alberobello | BA | italy

view of the rione aia piccola district from via cristoforo colombo

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

the trulli are built using a prehistoric method of dry stone construction that is unique to the region of the itria valley (valle d’itria).

more complex than the stone age construction process of the cave dwellings of matera (sassi di matera), which are simply enclosed by building an exterior wall of excavated stones.

section via italiansindc

 

even though they have conical roofs, trulli are rectangular buildings.

their double faced stone walls, which have rubble cores, are constructed from collected or excavated boulders or stones without using masonry mortar.

the eaves at the corners of the building channel water into an underground cistern.

the internal layer of the double faced roof is structurally supported by squinches (corner arches).  and, the external layer of the conical roof is constructed from corbelled stone shingles.

isometric drawing via the mind of architecture

 

the pinnacles on the roofs of the trulli, as well as the symbols that are painted on the shingles of the roofs with white ash,

are believed to have apotropaic power that wards off evil and misfortune.

trulli | alberobello | BA | italy

apotropaic pinnacles and symbols on the roofs

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

piazza d’annunzio | rione monti | alberobello | BA | italy

tenuta girolamo | piazza d’annunzio | rione monti | alberobello | BA | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

casa lippolis | piazza pagano | rione aia piccola | alberobello | BA | italy

18th century | two story | built using masonry mortar

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

casa museo trullo sovrano | piazza sacramento | alberobello | BA | italy

18th century | two story with a staircase | built without using masonry mortar

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

many of the citta bianche (white cities), including alberobello, locorotondo, martina franca, cisternino, ceglie messapica, and ostuni, are located in the valle d’itria, which runs between putignano and martina franca.

map via zeemaps

 

my husband, bob, and i stopped in putignano for lunch at angelo sabatelli ristorante.

angelo sabatelli ristorante | via santa chiara | putignano | BA | italy

melanzane arrosto, pomodorini, basilico e burrata di angelo sabatelli (roasted eggplant, tomatoes, basil and burrata by angelo sabatelli)

click here for the ricette (recipe)

photos via great italian chefs and  great italian chefs

 

pranzo (lunch) was molto buono (very good). actually, delicious.

and, the valle d’itria is molta bella (very beautiful).

vineyards.  olive orchards.  and, trulli, trulli, and more trulli…

trulli | valle d’itria (itria valley) | near ceglie messapica | BR | italy

trulli | valle d’itria (itria valley) | near locorotondo | BA | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

did you know that apulia produces about 33% of italian olive oil?

trulli | valle d’itria (itria valley) | near locorotondo | BA | italy

photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

sadly, the olive orchards in southern apulia are now infested by xylella fastidosa, a bacterium spread by the spittlebug (sputacchina), an insect related to the sharpshooter, which last infested california wine country during the 1990’s.

as a result, about 10% of italy’s olive oil production has been lost during the past year.

click here to read a financial times (ft) article about the infestation.

from this:  healthy olive orchard | carovigno (near ostuni) | BR | italy

to that:  diseased olive orchard | surbo (near lecce) | LE | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

fortunately, the centenary olive trees in the sculpture garden at la fiermontina, our hotel in lecce, remain healthy.

the sculptures are by rené letourneur (1898-1990) and jacques zwobada (1900-1967), two french artists who both loved the owners’ grandmother, antonia fiermonte (1914-1956), and were both loved by her.

 

the sculpture garden | la fiermontina | lecce | LE | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

la fiermontina is a restored masseria (fortified farmhouse) in the centro storico (historic city center) of lecce.  the baroque architecture in lecce is comparable to the baroque architecture in sicily.

our room featured a drawing of antonia fiermonte by jacques zwobada.

jacques zwobada | antonia de dos | 1943

photo credit la fiermontina

 

and, a honey colored lecce limestone vaulted ceiling.

 

junior suite number 1 | la fiermontina | lecce | LE | italy

photo via  tripadvisor

 

bella (beautiful)!

 

my husband, bob, and i could now consider ourselves cave dwellers.*

for two nights, at il palazzotto, our hotel in matera, italy.

 suite number 3 | il palazzotto residence & winery | matera | MT | italy

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

matera is located in the basilicata region of italy (the ‘arch’ of the italian ‘boot’).

west of puglia (the ‘heel’ of the italian ‘boot’).

maps via unesco and isassidimatera.com

 

il palazzotto is located in the historic city center (centro storico) of matera, in the sasso barisano district.

the cave dwellings in the sasso barisano and sasso caveoso districts of matera, which have been continuously occupied since the stone age, are part of the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the mediterranean region.

in addition to the sassi di matera (stones of matera), the unesco world heritage site includes the parco delle chiese rupestri di materano (park of the rock churches of matera), which also dates to the palaeolithic period.  the rock churches are located across the gravina di matera (ravine of matera) that separates the sasso caveoso from the murgia plateau.  so, the national park is also known as the parco della murgia materana (the park of the murgia of matera).

the entire troglodyte settlement covers an area of 1016 hectares (approximately 2500 acres), and includes about 1000 cave dwellings and around 150 rock churches.

the civita district in the centro storico of matera, which dates to the 13th century, is also part of the unesco world heritage site.

view of matera

foreground | il palazzoto in the sasso barisano district
background | the piazza duomo, the duomo (cathedral), and the campanile (bell tower) in the civita district
photo credit lisa walsh | innerspace

 

views of the sasso barisano district

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

views of the sasso caveoso district

left | the (unfinished) castello tramontano
center | the campanile in the piazza duomo
right | the rock churches of san giovanni in monterrone and santa maria de idris
photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

in the sasso caveoso district, there are more cave dwellings.

while, in the sasso barisano district, there are more palaces and houses.

 

before and after.

cave dwellings in the sasso caveoso district

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

matera is also a popular movie location.

while we were visiting, they were filming the new james bond movie, no time to die starring daniel craig.

piazza san pietro caveoso

the film crew was just finishing their 11:00 am gelato break
photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

a rope bridge crosses the ravine that separates the sasso caveoso district from the parco della murgia materana.

chiuso (closed).

views of the parco della murgia materana

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

most of the rock churches in the national park are also closed.

nine of them can be visited via guided tour.  three of them are visible through protective grills.

map via ceamatera.it

 

so, we decided that the rock churches and the grottoes in the national park were best appreciated from the sasso caveoso side of the ravine.

views of the grottoes and the belvedere in the parco della murgia materana from sasso caveoso

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

from the belvedere in the national park, the views of the sassi di matera are supposedly spectacular.

but, we decided that we preferred to explore the centro storico on foot.

 

from the piazza duomo in the civita district, the views of the sassi di matera are also spectacular.

views of the sassi di matera from the piazza duomo in the civita district

photo credits lisa walsh | innerspace

 

 

*fortunately, bob and i didn’t dine like cave dwellers.

we paid chef nicola popolizio at ristorante ego our highest compliment.

 ego reminded us of joia, our long time favorite restaurant in milano, when chef pietro leemann was still cooking full time.

talented, passionate, creative, playful, and friendly…

gli autumn della mia giovinezza (the autumns of my youth)

photo credit egogourmet

 

ristorante ego-enoteca gourmet origini | via stigliani | matera | MT | italy

photo credit egogourmet