Construction of dry stone walls.

Dry stone walls: give me a stone and I’ll build a dry stone wall. There is no Salentino that does not have, in the heart, a piece of space reserved for the particular architectural typology of the dry stone wall. Dry stone walls are not just a fence element, they are a sculpture of the soul. Ask the farmers of the past, who with their calloused and strong hands cleaned the countryside to prepare them for cultivation and freed them from stones. Which they then stacked in a corner of the ground. Those stones then became the pieces of a puzzle that you learned by seeing it done and improved with the exercise.

So the stones, one after the other, fit together with the previous ones. And they looked at them, they checked their shape, they wondered what was the most suitable location for each one. If the dry stone walls were done well, as the tradition of the Salento roots dictates, there was no need for binders or mortars of any kind. The stones were enough for them. Arranged in order to bond with the others and not move anymore. Like a hug, which never breaks, if your arms are firm.

Dry stone walls

Codice MS01

Dry stone walls

Codice MS02

Dry stone walls

Codice MS03

Dry stone walls

Codice MS04

Dry stone walls. All over the world.

The dry stone wall was the first construction for all civilizations in the world. Because at all latitudes of the planet it represented the desire to take shelter, to delimit one’s own space with respect to the outside. And compared to others, to change nature at your convenience. For many peoples, the type of “dry stone walls” has been used for religious purposes. The Jewish people built altars there from which to pray to God. The Egyptians built the pyramids there, constructions so perfect that even today they raise questions about their existence. But small dry buildings, that is, made of stone without the use of glue materials, are scattered around the world as shelters for earth workers.

This is the case of the Apulian “trulli”, buildings usually with a single room or a little more, with a circular shape. Who offered rest to the peasants during the long days of work. Trulli today are a world heritage site and are “untouchable”, because they are an example of a building supported by a very strong balance and also because they tell the ancient story of the origins of the Apulian land.

Dry stone walls

Codice MS05

Dry stone walls

Codice MS06

Dry stone walls

Codice MS07

Dry stone walls

Codice MS08

Dry stone walls: with rough or worked stone.

Dry stone walls can be broadly divided into two types: those that use local rough stones, selecting them based on size and size. Those who use semi-finished stones, collected not necessarily in the place where the wall itself stands.
The first type of dry stone walls is made by carefully choosing the stones that will have to compose it on the basis of their shape and trying to make the perimeters coincide as much as possible. The smaller stones are then inserted into the empty spaces between one stone and another, to build a dense network of stones.

It is a real mosaic, in which the tiles are chosen with care so that they adhere to each other as precisely as possible. Many of these walls can still be seen in the Apulian and Sicilian landscapes, of which they constitute an important distinctive character. The second type of dry stone walls is instead characteristic of more demanding constructions. As it was used as a base for large buildings or for defensive walls. Even today the remains can be found in areas with a high archaeological concentration, where the remains of ancient buildings are preserved.

Dry stone walls

Codice MS09

Dry stone walls

Codice MS10

Dry stone walls

Codice MS11

Dry stone walls

Codice MS12

Heritage to protect: dry stone walls.

The construction technique of dry stone walls was voted by the Italian Unesco Commission as a candidate for the nomination of “heritage of humanity” and therefore as territorial evidence to protect and enhance. The final decision will be taken in 2019, but even if the proposal is not approved, this particular construction type, which is firmly guarded in the hearts of all those who know it thoroughly. It will certainly be handed down with love to younger generations and then to even younger ones. Because the protection and enhancement of an asset also pass through its conservation in the collective memory.

Dry stone walls

Codice MS13

Dry stone walls

Codice MS14

Dry stone walls

Codice MS15

Codice MS16

Codice MS16

Dry stone constructions. From the wall to the shelters.

The step from dry stone walls to dry architectural construction is, as you can imagine, very short. Dry construction is a particular type of rural architecture that boasts a close relationship with the place where it stands and from which it draws the raw material it is made of: stone. In Puglia they are called “trullo” or “pajara” and are an integral part of the territory. For the locals they are like a natural element. Something essential for the eyes and the heart. In recent years, interest in this type of construction has grown exponentially. The trulli have been renovated and transformed into accommodation and hospitality facilities. And they are very much appreciated by tourists who go to the Apulian territories also to be able to enjoy this further beauty.

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