“The German word Erfahrung, meaning experience, comes from the old German word Irfaran: travelling, going out, crossing, roaming. The deeply rooted idea that a journey is an experience that tests and refines the character of the traveller is clear in the German adjective Bewandert, which today means wise or expert, but which originally (in the books from 15th century) simply meant those who had travelled a lot” (Erich J. Leed, The Mind of the Traveler, 1991).
Travelling therefore signifies experiencing distant cultures but also, and perhaps above all, one’s own. And what place more than Matera could help us to immerse ourselves in the rural tradition of the Italian people, through the wonders of an extraordinary settlement, like that of Sassi, consolidated over the centuries?
The Sassi of Matera represents an important place: inhabited since the Palaeolithic period, they have seen multiple settlements firstly from the Eastern regions and then from the Norman-Swabia area. After living an urban expansion in the Renaissance age and a restructuring during the Baroque period, it falls into a social and hygienic degradation in the 19th century and the forced displacement of the population in the 1950s, to arrive at today’s current status of recovery, which began in 1986.
Today, the Sassi are part of the World Heritage Sites and are living a revival thanks to the renewed cultural and touristic interest that evolves around them. This has led to a recovery of the housing market based on the resources of the region and through the strengthening of the tourist attractions.
One of the latest building examples in the Sassi is the work of architect Daniela Amoroso for the accommodation structure called Corte San Pietro. Chosen for her ability to model the calcareous material respecting the traditional methods, one is fascinated by the use of colours, the white and ochre that decline in many shades on the furniture and fabrics, to the choice of the complementary materials and ability to give shape to a warm environment and a strong conceptual identity.
Photographer: Piero Mario Ruggeri