The sense of water

Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of  its Sassi (Stones), an extraordinary urban ecosystem, proof of a distant prehistoric past that is still vivid and surprisingly modern. However, this city is known worldwide also due to the clever method that was created  to recuperate water. The building of Le Dimore dell’Acqua is, in fact, perfect evidence of this, since it was built over a large ancient cistern 9 meters deep, which is still full of water and where the waters from the hills of the castle are conveyed. Located on the ground floor of the building, it preserves the original access from which the whole neighborhood drew water. An element of strong aggregation for the people of the Sassi, the cistern method is still a great example of high hydraulic engineering. This was unlike the supply method used by the nobles who, instead, benefitted of a  “privileged” access where a bucket was  dropped  from up top all the way into the cistern. In this manner, they avoided running into and mingling with the common people. All this history is still alive and is still felt in Le Dimore dell’Acqua, where it will soon be possible to visit the cistern, which  is being renovated, and relive the ancient charm of that era.