Arcipelago Italia. Southern Apennines and Sub-Apennines

Italian Pavilion’s exploration has reached Southern Italy’s magnificent, tormented land. Here more than elsewhere, architecture is both a tool for rebirth and a key to redemption.

Netti Architetti, Torre Boraco, Manduria, Italu, 2013. Photo © Vittorio Carofiglio

We exit Central Italy at Bocca di Forlì in the province of Isernia. Our voyage south continues over the Apennines down to the Passo dello Scalone in the province of Cosenza. On the way, we travel over the Samnite, Campanian and Lucanian portions of the Apennine Mountains. These are beautiful and tough parts, where agriculture, pastoralism, national parks and earthquakes are indissolubly linked to common mem- ory and local place names. In Aquilonia and Cairano, we see projects aimed at thawing a scenario frozen since 1980, the year a catastrophic quake struck the Irpinia area. The new architecture wants to rouse types of synergy that have been narcotised by decades of broken promises.

But anti-seismic technology alone cannot revive livelihood. Beauty is needed, too. And this is found in the land art of the Muricinari initiative (muricinari are builders of dry stone walls), where the jazzi were brought back (a jazzo is a dry stone sheepfold, one of the oldest types of livestock enclosure). Beauty is also key in the illumination of the aqueduct built by the Alto Calore water utility, where a gash in the moun- tain becomes a gorgeous scar. Continuing down toward the rugged heel of Italy’s boot, the Daunian Sub-Apennine range offers architecture illustrating the importance of regeneration based on cultural liveliness and stewardship of the common good. In the village of Orsara, the architect Raimondo Guidacci experimented with two back-to-back houses inserted into a packed row of traditional residential fabric without making his contemporary interruptions clash. Renewals in the towns of Montemilione (Piazza degli Emigranti), Cursi (the visionary Villaggio Cavatrulli) and Manduria (the reuse of Torre Boraco) aim to convert neglected spaces in favour of the community and tourism without betraying the genius loci.

This article is part of “Arcipelago Italia” , a supplement dedicated to the Italian Pavilion, attached to Domus 1025, June 2018.

Arcipelago Italia
Curated by:
Mario Cucinella
Opening dates:
until 26 November 2018
Arsenale della Biennale di Venezia
Campiello Tana 2169/F, Venice

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