The territorial context of the Tagghjate

The territorial context of the Tagghjate

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(edited by: Prof. G.nni Carafa)


(Between houses and cellars, narrow whitewashed alleys and unexpected open spaces of good neighborhood)

In a region lacking in altitudes, even a small "quota", today, for us, can constitute an additional possibility of appreciation, of understanding the type of relations a population has with its own territory. A short itinerary in the intriguing development of the old town block reveals the succession of spaces caught in the hilly difference in height on which the town lies (Monte Belvedere). The visit can very well start from the immediate vicinity of the mother church “Maria SS. of the people".

Via Roccaforzata

We immediately set off along Via Roccaforzata, an ancient inter-municipal axis. The street is narrow and, in the initial part, also quite characterized by buildings moving forward and backward with stairways everywhere and some parapets also delimiting the gardens behind (Photo nos. 35-36).

Photo nr. 35 - Via Roccaforzata, articulated buildings

Photo nr. 36 - Via Roccaforzata, characteristic staircase

Inevitable, to a careful observation that is recommended for the entire duration of the route, are the infinite ventilation openings as well as the flaps / stairways (Photo nr. 37) that lead to the ancient private cellars below directly dug into the bare tufa rock once housed millstones and the inevitable shelter of the only and tireless working animal family, the mule (in jargon, the "mule"), which in a daring unraveling of gradients (stairs) managed to find hospitality in the deepest bowels of the house . The whole town is built with tuffaceous ashlars obtained directly from the subsoil, from the cellar below, therefore the building above is supported by a series of barrel, star and sail vaults, on the dizzying and infinite voids of the quarry that it seems, are also intercoms (used for anti-aircraft shelters in the last world war).

Photo nr. 37 - Via Roccaforzata, flaps and stairways

It is there that the precious local oil and the varied enological qualities find their completion, their reasons for being in a perfect microclimate.

Even the humblest houses have on their facades a wealth of moldings, cornices, shelves and balconies all in tuff stone articulated by the hard work of the local stonecutters of the past (Photo no. 38). The look at the upper floors of the facades often seems to return what has not yet been touched by the fatal fury of the past 60s and 70s, in wanting to be, at all costs, modern, in tune with the new economic condition. social welfare offered by the mirage of an exodus that opened from the countryside towards the new and "dignified" employment season of the large metalworking industry (formerly Italsider, now Ilva), a true economic-social transhumance that in the long term has revealed its fallacy also in the dismantling of a vital artisan micro fabric that has always been directly connected to a territorial identity.

Photo nr. 38 - Via Roccaforzata, balcony

But, how can you blame a population that has always lived on the verge of poverty, condemned to a very hard daily exhausting work in the fields or in the quarry (cavamonte / tagliapietra) without any certainty of future life prospects capable of opening a possible window towards other opportunities to change one's social and existential condition; how can you be wrong not to enjoy some contradictory benefits, some comforts of life, and then: alarm clocks and doors in marble, doors in anodized aluminum, partial tiling of the facades - especially on the lower floors -, therefore, a concrete small well-being, or, at least, such aspiration, in the necessary "facade comforts".

If you want to be updated and learn more about the tags, please also read the articles:
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