I have always admired the sense of aggregation of ancient villages where the close proximity of the houses makes you feel part of a connected community and where the heat generated within the home is shared and held in a sort of architectural embrace.
I embarked on a journey through Sicily in search of a lost lifestyle, in the memory of a distant past, to document and re-evaluate the wisdom of ordinary people who built, furnished and lived their homes following the simple rules dictated by necessity.
The images of the homes I propose in this exhibition have been chosen with a keen eye to grasp the spontaneity of the different types of vernacular architecture to highlight their beauty and their integration with the environment. It is no coincidence that many of the sites present here have been designated World Heritage by UNESCO.
I believe these buildings are advanced examples of eco-sustainability that can offer a higher quality of life.
These are peasant houses and buildings for work activities, originally built to optimize natural resources (sun, wind, water, fire, earth) of the surrounding area. Their frugal character today seems to suggest a simplicity that can significantly influence our tastes and behaviors in the name of essential well-being.
"Architectures without architects", said Bernard Rudofsky, who was first interested in these phenomena of vernacular architecture, divulging and highlighting the spontaneous housing peculiarities of different populations around the world.
Specifically, my attention focused on the sustainable aspect of some rural buildings on Sicilian territory, such as the Aeolian house, the dammuso of Pantelleria, the baglio, the tonnara, the salt mills, the cave. Photographing these splendid examples of vernacular tradition has given me the opportunity to exalt this knowledge handed down based on common sense: a knowledge that we have a duty to protect.
The rural architecture that I photographed has always respected the environment on the basis of key principles that govern their constructive philosophy, such as: the recovery and use of rainwater, natural thermoregulation of the interior, the use of local materials for the their construction, lighting, and calibrated cardinal display.
Through my work I have tried to enhance the aesthetics and the bio-architectural features of these buildings in order to inspire a lifestyle closer to nature that takes into account the limited resources we have available. These rural architectures built over time by unnamed masters and craftsmen represent a possible solution to the current problems of sustainable environmental integration.
The images presented here remind us of a sense of responsibility towards sustainable development capable of guaranteeing the satisfaction of current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, as well as enunciated in the 1987 Brundtland report.
The photographs included in this catalogue, present us with a housing model able to successfully combine, ancient and modern, craftsmanship and technology, economy and sobriety, aesthetics and functionality.
But as in all things, direct experience is the most effective. Therefore, I invite every visitor of this exhibition to savor the evocative power of these black and white images dreaming of a hot summer day; and to the insistent song of the cicadas, sleep in the half-light of an alcove that is naturally thermo-ventilated by a dammuso, and then, on waking up, refresh your face with water from the cistern coming from the rain of the last storm.
Beyond the most cultivated bio-architecture treaties we could thus enjoy the most beautiful eco-sustainable dream in the world!