The Sassi di Matera (meaning "stones of Matera") are prehistoric cave dwellings in the Italian city of Matera, Basilicata. Situated in the old town, they are composed of the Sasso Caveoso and the later Sasso Barisano.

Matera has gained international fame for its "Sassi". The Sassi originate from a prehistoric (troglodyte) settlement, and are suspected to be some of the first human settlements in Italy

Matera was developed by its inhabitants over the centuries in a manner that is now called "Spontaneous Architecture" due to the way the city conforms to the natural environment while revealing many very sophisticated and elegant styles. This form of architecture strikes the attention of visitors arriving in the city, as it creates a surreal landscape reminiscent of the emotions stirred before certain modern abstract paintings.

Amidst the rocks of Matera, Byzantine churches carved into the rock are adorned with religious paintings on ancient walls eroded by time. Before these unique churches one feels transfixed in a place where time seems to have stopped - in sacred time.

Although Matera is not as famous from an archaeological point of view as Pompeii, Agrigento or Pozzuoli, it has such unique and suggestive environmental characteristics that it remains one of the most admired cities in Italy - and indeed, the world.
The Sassi are houses dug into the tufa rock itself, which is characteristic of Basilicata and Puglia. Many of these "houses" are really only caverns, and the streets in some parts of the Sassi often are located on the rooftops of other houses. The ancient town grew in height on one slope of the ravine created by a river that is now a small stream. The ravine is known locally as "la Gravina".

In the 1950s, the government of Italy forcefully relocated most of the population of the Sassi to areas of the developing modern city. However, people continued to live in the Sassi, and according to the English Fodor's guide:

“     Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago.     ”

Until the late 1980s this was considered an area of poverty, since these houses were, and in most areas still are, mostly unlivable. Current local administration, however, has become more tourism-oriented, and has promoted the re-generation of the Sassi with the aid of the European Union, the government, UNESCO, and Hollywood.

The best season to visit Matera is between the months of May and July. The weather is still beautiful and chaos of Italian mass tourism in August has not yet peaked. If you do not wish to be led around by a local guide (some of whom speak English and can help you to discover unknown sites in the ancient city), you can purchase a typical tourist guide book or get useful information from many Internet resources.
-->




Crea le tue foto ed immagini come Slideshow per eBay, Netlog, MySpace, Facebook o la tua Homepage!Mostrare tutte le immagini di questo Slideshow

Custom Search
 
If you liked this article, subscribe to the feed by clicking the image below to keep informed about new contents of the blog:


0
Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence, Italy, situated just across from the main railway station which shares its name. Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city's principal Dominican church.

The church, the adjoining cloister, and chapterhouse contain a store of art treasures and funerary monuments. Especially famous are frescoes by masters of Gothic and early Renaissance. They were financed through the generosity of the most important Florentine families, who ensured themselves of funerary chapels on consecrated ground.

This church was called Novella (New) because it was built on the site of the 9th-century oratory of Santa Maria delle Vigne. When the site was assigned to Dominican Order in 1221, they decided to build a new church and an adjoining cloister. The church was designed by two Dominican friars, Fra Sisto Fiorentino and Fra Ristoro da Campi. Building began in the mid-13th century (about 1246), and was finished about 1360 under the supervision of Friar Iacopo Talenti with the completion of the Romanesque-Gothic bell tower and sacristy. At that time, only the lower part of the Tuscan gothic facade was finished.

The three portals are spanned by round arches, while the rest of the lower part of the facade is spanned by blind arches, separated by pilasters, with below Gothic pointed arches, striped in green and white, capping noblemen's tombs. This same design continues in the adjoining wall around the old churchyard. The church was consecrated in 1420.


On a commission from Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai, a local textile merchant, Leone Battista Alberti designed the upper part of the inlaid black and white marble facade of the church (1456–1470). He was already famous as the architect of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini, but even more for his seminal treatise on architecture De Re Aedificatoria, based on the book De Architectura of the classical Roman writer Vitruvius. Alberti had also designed the facade for the Rucellai Palace in Florence.

Alberti attempted to bring the ideals of humanist architecture, proportion and classically-inspired detailing, to bear on the design while also creating harmony with the already existing medieval part of the facade. His contribution consists of a broad frieze decorated with squares and everything above it, including the four white-green pilasters and a round window, crowned by a pediment with the Dominican solar emblem, and flanked on both sides by enormous S-curved volutes. The four columns with Corinthian capitals on the lower part of the facade were also added. The pediment and the frieze are clearly inspired by the antiquity, but the S-curved scrolls in the upper part are new and without precedent in antiquity. The scrolls (or variations of them), found in churches all over Italy, all find their origin here in the design of this church.







Crea le tue foto ed immagini come Slideshow per eBay, Netlog, MySpace, Facebook o la tua Homepage!Mostrare tutte le immagini di questo Slideshow

Custom Search
 
If you liked this article, subscribe to the feed by clicking the image below to keep informed about new contents of the blog:


0
Mi Ping en TotalPing.com Subscribe using FreeMyFeed follow us in feedly
Piedmont, Turin, mountain, Alpes Sassi, Matera Dolomiti, Alps, mountains Portofino, Liguria Gran Paradiso, national parks, Piedmont Garda lake, Lombardy, national parks Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Tuscany hiking, Liguria, Pizzo Ormea, mountain Bris Mindino, hiking, Liguria Levanto, Liguria, Cinqueterre