From the origins to the present day
The room used as a B&B has an interesting history, in line with the more general history of the Sassi town characterised by its “resilience”, varied and continuous reuse of its buildings over time.
Built in the late-Renaissance period attached to a pre-existing medieval building (of which there is a trace of a pointed-arch portal at the end of the room), it was raised between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century along with Palazzo Gattini (proven by the enlargement of a supporting pillar which was built into a groin vault), and extended along Via San Potito with the construction of your hosts’ property and of the terrace overlooking the Palazzo.
The first intended use of the room seems to have been that of premises for the production of cheese (“caciolaio”): in fact, the renovation work brought to light a wide “focagna” (fireplace) used to curdle milk and the original limestone floor.
The room then, with the eighteenth-nineteenth century extensions, became residential accommodation, first attached to the adjacent property and then divided from it and converted into a single room: clear proof of the residential overcrowding process, which between the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century characterised the Sassi of Matera, leading to poor hygiene conditions and to the destitution of its inhabitants, reported by Carlo Levi in “Christ stopped at Eboli”.
This degradation was living testimony to the presence, in the one-room house, of the masonry kitchen and a small room next to the entrance, featuring a toilet without water connection.
The property, inhabited until the ‘50s, was later declared uninhabitable, expropriated, and its occupants transferred, along with the other 15,000 inhabitants of the Sassi, in the new and functional “Risanamento Sassi” (Sassi Renewal) districts.
Today we have decided to give contemporary usability to the single-room accommodation and open it to "cultural visitors" who, even for a short stay, wish to experience and understand how people lived in the Sassi of Matera up to just over half a century ago.
The property received light and air from the front door, and all residential functions (kitchen, bathroom, living room, bedroom) were grouped in one room, including a small barn at the end (you can see a ring, driven into the wall, which perhaps was used to tie a goat or other animal).
In the B&B you will find the documentation of this “history” that makes the room accommodating you a witness to the degradation and redemption of the city of Matera; you can also see, among other things, the volume “Matera - history of a town”, of which your host is the Author.