- I Sassi di Matera: a world heritage site to live in.
Sextantio Albergo Diffuso Le Grotte della Civita is a multi-building hotel in which the rooms are in caves overlooking the Gravina River, across from the Murgia Park with its cave chapels, in the oldest, poorest part of the Civita, where it gradually becomes rocks sloping down into the river valley.
On three levels connected by stairways and terraces, the multi-building hotel offers 18 cave-rooms, each with its own independent entrance and garden with a view over the Murgia Park.
The builders used local materials in the restoration work and furnishings, which are kept to a minimum to prevent interference with the dramatic physicality of these places and their history. One example will do for all: the sheets and towels from traditional wedding trousseaus.
Everyday history to be preserved in the protected context of the Sassi di Matera, a UNESCO World Heritage site characterised by its caves dug into the rock, created to permit the survival of their inhabitants, both human and animal.
The conversion of the caves into hotel rooms is a form of upcycling of the constructions’ purpose which benefits not only the town’s architectural heritage but its contemporary population by generating a source of income based on the town’s unique heritage. This local identity is no longer seen as a limitation, something that doesn’t fit into the modern world, but recognised as an inheritance worth preserving and building a future around.
Design: Sextantio, http://www.sextantio.it
Location: Grotte della Civita, Sassi di Matera, Italy
Photographs: Courtesy of Sextantio, www.sextantio.it
Related links: http://www.floornature.com/blog/santo-stefano-di-sessanio-reclaiming-a-village-7834/, http://www.sassidimatera.com, http://www.sextantio.it/grotte-civita/