This is the street, (the one with avant-garde houses in a subsidized neighborhood on the outskirts) where the house I grew up in is… such a beautiful and  important place for me, where I spent many content moments, happy at the birth of my little brothers and frightened and sad at the death of my father. But what I’d really like to focus on is the importance of my formation in the courtyard outside my house – a school of life. The courtyard and the street were both animated by tons of children, 10, 20, 30 including distinguished friends and playmates, it really was a cross-section of society. I felt our courtyard was protective, but also able to welcome others, as we serenely played  our favorite games like the “game of 7 stones” (which I’ve never seen anywhere else). Here is where I breathed the atmosphere of sharing, fun, competition, boys against girls quarrels, (with female solidarity and the ugly betrayals of male friends), tensions and laughter, fantastic and terrifying tales, races, painful falls, humiliations, hoardings, injustices, trials, convictions and acquittals, transgressions, escapes … the pleasure of running, getting dirty, being chosen … feeling free and even privileged because belonging to a beautiful group of friends, able to improvise all kinds of fun and interesting activities, even the “Olympics” … here is a place where there was a feeling of eternal friendship … I clearly remember seeing adults through my child’s eyes and the differences between the tolerant and the intolerant, the happy and the unhappy, as well as the different social classes, even among us children.



This was a focal point for various high-schools (one of which I attended), once again on the outskirts and isolated. It was a place I went to socialize and to make interesting and casual acquaintances and in fact, as soon as I was old enough, I couldn’t wait to go there and breathe the atmosphere, which I had probably idealized.


The Cathedral surfaces so many emotional memories that took place at various points of my life I’ll mention some that instinctively come to mind. It was the first site where I  curiously and excitedly climbed  scaffolding and where I got to work on a fantastic 13th century fresco: I was 16 years old and during school holidays I attended Matera’s Art Heritage Superintendency to see if I was interested in restoration work, which was definitely one of my most fatal moments !! It was an evocative place and an extraordinary job (hell), with brilliantly witty and encouraging company. What else can I say ?! It was a done deal –  wonderful !! I was flattered, happy, proud, and then suddenly I dropped the precious spatula and it fell off the scaffolding and ended up behind an altar. I was mortified! I think I must have turned every shade of red – initially our of happiness and then, out of shame.


I have such beautiful memories of summer days as a teenager here, which were serene, but also boring. And now, it is such a pleasure to see that countryside where the whole family spent time together and where my girls love to spend time, so much so, that they always want to organize their birthday parties there, even now that they are teenagers !! Here, is where I have a great sense of well-being.


This was the meeting place for all of Matera’s teens –  the place where everything happened – teasing,  courtships, pursuits. This was such an important place for me and my friend I. when there was the strong earthquake on the 23rd of November, in 1980.  We were on the street, not having noticed much, running up and down, without understanding the severity of the shock. Unperturbed, we then continued walking until the agreed upon time when we were to meet our parents, who upon our arrival, were now scrambling in a panic


My work has taken me to fantastic places that have given me the pleasure of enjoying these places as a privileged person, but I will mention only a few. This was an amazing place where I worked together with a team from Rome and for me, this was an added value because it was an opportunity for growth. The responsibility of putting your hands on such extraordinary paintings, creates a relationship with the work that binds you (sometimes limiting you) and compensates you for all the sacrifices involved (such as the lack of bathrooms).

By then a mum, it was a great joy one year later to take my three girls to the inauguration of that magical place, even if in the end we didn’t manage to go inside, because of their over-exuberence.


This was a small rock church inside a magical olive grove on the outskirts of Matera, surrounded by ugly  imposing buildings, it seemed like the garden of Gethsemane. The curious children in the neighborhood kept us company after school and we were delighted that they loved that place, despite what their parents wanted. Also the sweet D. B. would come to visit us for lunch, bringing his pan of sausages and potatoes.

Happiness serenity.