APPEAL FOR THE SASSI DI MATERA, THE GRAVINE, AND THE ALTA MURGIA
Sassi di Matera, recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO and inserted in the list
of protected sites, together with the Gravine and the Alta Murgia, require a particular
attention to all the protagonists involved in this complex and unrepeatable human
Agencies, institutions, associations, technicians, scholars
and citizens, interested in the protection of this site, faithfully, according
to the historical memory of these places, avoid its misinterpretation or even
destruction because of improper use of restoration techniques and alterations,
or serious environmental manipulations.
As for the Sassi di Matera, the
recent inspections have unfortunately pointed out that the restoration in progress
in some houses and infrastructures, shows considerable inconsistences with the
In particular it has been highlighted:
treatment of the façades is performed without paying the appropriate attention
to the preservation of the patina of time, scraping off the tuff surfaces, and
sometimes making doors and windows not in keeping with tradition. Such an architectonic
paradox has to be avoided.
- the restoration and the partial reconstruction
of walls, external stairs, fireplaces and other pieces of the mosaic of the "Sassi"
are performed in contrast with pre-existent ones, using reinvented shapes resulting
in a fanciful rebuilding of the monument.
- the proposal of an escalator does
violence to the original establishment. The whole zone needs neither escalators,
nor lifts, nor any new entrance or opening.
- It is essential, according to
water saving projects and plans, to recover the ancient water collecting system
of tanks and tubs, which is a unique characterizing element of the "Sassi".
The appeal for the "Sassi" calls upon the Italian Ministry of the
Environment, and all administrations, agencies and institutions in charge of the
protection to suspend the granted funds, to identify new and clear ideas and proposals
about the restoration of this unique monument, recognized as Common Heritage of
As for the Gravine, emphasis has been given to the unjustified
absence of an appropriate legislation to preserve, promote and improve the natural,
archaeological and cultural heritage.
As for the Alta Murgia and the
Murgia Materana, there is evidence of a true environmental disaster caused by
the unrestrained removal of stones in a vast part of the territory, producing
serious consequences on the ecological equilibrium and on the preservation of
its historical, cultural and landscape character.
The creation of small hill
lakes in the Alta Murgia represents a very upsetting aspect of this situation
as well as the general management of the restoration work that is not subjected
to an appropriate control, which instead is necessary because this area has been
defined area of deterioration by the skeleton law on protected areas (L.394/92).
The Institutions involved in the protection of this area are called to
pay a closer attention to the fulfilment of the rules established by the Act Nr.
We call upon Puglia and Basilicata, Local Authorities and the European
Union, to consider the possible use of new financial resources in order to restore
the degraded areas and preserve the natural phytus granting economic support to
We call on the European Union, General Direction for Audiovisual Culture
and Information, to plan specific interventions to preserve and restore the rural
architectonic heritage in the territories of the Murgia Materana and Alta Murgia
Nord Occidentale Barese.
Matera, April 20th - 22nd 1995