Masseria Radogna


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Masseria Radogna is one of the offices of the Matera environmental education center, which annually welcomes students visiting the Murgia Materana Park. The outdoor spaces are equipped for the stop in the camper. Here you will find the directions to reach us.

And’ a typical rural holiday construction dating back to the mid-19th century, where the Radogna family spent the summer months: on the upper floor there were the bedrooms while on the ground floor there was the kitchen and the living room and the guest room. In the central courtyard there is also a small chapel consecrated to San Francesco da Paola, where the family's guest pastor celebrated mass. The Masseria is completed with numerous accessories from the periods prior to the nineteenth century, linked to past agricultural and pastoral activities, like the sheep pens made with dry stone walls.

But in particular it is the underground floor which is located under the Masseria, to be of great interest, to understand rock architecture.
The floor is in fact excavated in the calcarenite, a rock that appears set in fossil shells because of marine origin: era infatti il fondale del mare che ricopriva tutta l’area, up to one and a half million years ago.
Compact but tender, calcarenite is almost as easy to work as wood, something local communities have learned to do, since ancient times.
In the center of the courtyard you can see the canal, to convey rainwater to one of the three cisterns of the farm. This system is one of the elements that characterize the long-lived town of Matera, that thanks to the collection of rainwater, it has survived even the driest seasons.
Five meters deep, the cistern has its internal surface covered with a plaster of cocciopesto and lime, able to waterproof the porous surface of the calcarenite.

In the main hypogeum we find instead a precious example of a neviera, obtained in a pit quarry, deep 13 meters and wide 5 meters per 5.
Inside this place the snow was inserted through the upper machicolation, and accumulated and compacted in layers divided by thin layers of straw (which was kept in another room of the same hypogeum).
At the bottom of the snowfield you can see an opening that hides the double bottom, where the water accumulated, as the ice melted.

To understand the phenomenon, it is necessary to return to 1700, when the little glaciation brought colder winters and an increase in snowfall, creating the conditions to develop the ice trade.
In addition to the cooling of food and drinks, ice was invaluable to its medical functions. Ancient remedy for fevers and bruises, its sale was considered of strategic interest, especially against pandemics, and therefore it was subject to public procurement which had to ensure access to it at reasonable prices.
Ice, specially protected by straw packaging, it was also sent to neighboring municipalities, reaching even the port of Taranto, where it was further embarked.

Other rooms complete the hypogeum: the stable with the fertilizer in the center, the chicken coop and an apiary.
On the murgia naturally rich in honey plants, the breeding of bees was traditionally one of the most widespread activities, as well as for the possibility of obtaining honey, even more to produce wax, very precious for the manufacture of candles.
In this underground space, In the 2002 Mel Gibson rebuilt the house in Nazareth of the colossal "The Passion". In memory of this scenography, remains the fiberglass oven placed next to the tank.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Neviere of Matera ((F). Foschino, R. Paolicelli, D. Gallo, A. Fontana) MATHERA Magazine N.9 /2019

Read the interview to Mrs. Rita ’ D ’ Loved, descendant of the Radogna family