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The territory

Several factors have contributed to making this huge housing complex unique, first of all the territory. A rocky promontory close to a deep canyon, surrounded by two large amphitheater-shaped valleys of water, in the center of fertile plateaus, could only be an ideal home for human settlements since prehistoric times. Today on the rocky promontory, which we could define the acropolis, there are the Duomo and the Civita district, and, in the two valleys, the Sasso Barisano and the Sasso Caveoso.

The rocky promontory with the Duomo and the Rione Civita, at 400 meters above sea level
The Sasso Barisano valley
The wide valley of the Sasso Caveoso
The Gravina stream, at 290 meters above sea level

The photo is a detail of a model made in 1949 by F.Viti, F. Montemurro and E. Scarano and was photographed by F.S. Scalcione simulating an aerial view. The model, still under restoration by E. Viti, can be admired in the atrium of Palazzo Miccolis in via Ridola, the current headquarters of “Acito and Partners”.
The observation of this artifact gives a very good idea of the Sassi valleys, of the ravine and of the different levels, otherwise difficult to perceive during the visit.

The rock is made up mainly of calcarenite, locally called tuff, a sedimentary rock, which, especially above 350 meters above sea level, is tender and easily modeled.
This allowed the formation of numerous caves, facilitated the excavation and finding of construction material, and allowed the excavation of canals and cisterns.
The orography of the area and the nature of the rock have favored human settlement since prehistoric times, and today we tend to place the first population of the area in the lower-middle Paleolithic.