CONSTRUCTION’S USES AND THE TERRITORY’S TRANSFORMATION

In the Belice’s Valley as others areas that are characterize of chalky outcrop, local rock usually is used in construction and in the architecture in the pure shape or associated with calcarenite.

Rough stone was used to build walls (for houses or boundary walls), instead the stone that was divided in squared blocks was used to building’s cantonal structure or to define portals, door well and windows, becoming also a decorative element of the facade.

Particularly typical are the houses of the small town Vita, where the gypsum local stone (dark grey balatino) was meld with attention and handmade mastery and it is use to the most important parts of the building (jambs, doors, architraves and cantonal) making a beautiful colour contrast.

Particularly important are the ‘’cupoli’’ which are big barns among the countries that are realized with gypsum tanning or with mixed and plastered masonry with gypsum mortar, in circular plan with a ogival shape, which in his internal is obtain another floor.

In Santa Ninfa’s area mainly is used selenitico macro crystalline gypsum, associated with balatino, to build rural warehouses spread out in the counties and in the basement of the richest houses.

Today the gypsum buildings spread out in the Belices’s Valley, in the countries and in the towns, constitute an important testimony of the tight bond that existed some years before between the territory and the human activities, and of a traditional craft that once was very common but that disappeared about 50-60 years ago (plaster diggers and stonemason). So it’s important to keep alive the memory of our identity and of our history through the memory of the traditional crafts and through the safeguard of this particular architectural typology.

Territory’s transformations

The chalky outcrop and the dolina (‘’zubbie’’) have always represented a problem for the agriculture, for the difficulty to cultivate rocky terrains and for his rugged and articulated morphology. Man has learned to take advantage from the positives propriety of the dolina: a fresh and damp climate and the protection from the wind, with these features the man can cultivate inside it.

In ancient times was important the conditions of sinkholes, to drain rain with terracing, canalization and with a protrusion that represents areas where the grazing animals can drink.

Unfortunately, with the advent of the mechanical means and with the gradual disappeared of the tight bond with the land many sinkholes have been obstructed, many doline have been used for agricultural scopes, many stream and valley have been interrupted causing serious impacts to the circulation of the water, to the land erosion, to the landscape, to the karstic shapes, to the vegetation.