The old charm of tradition

Each room of Le Dimore dell’Acqua has a name: Gallo (Rooster), Donna (Woman), Archi (Arches), and Torre (Tower), in reference to the historical icons used on bread stamps. The history of these stamps is very interesting and is intimately linked to the agricultural-peasant culture of the Basilicata region. They were, in fact, used to mark the famous bread of Matera that, already during the Bourbon era, unlike most other types of bread in Southern Italy, was made only of  durum wheat flour, which gave it that flavor, aroma, and color that  made it a culinary excellence recognized and appreciated worldwide. The habit of baking bread at home stemmed from the idea that buying bread was synonymous with misery. For this reason, both the rich, as well as the poorest families first worked the dough at home and then, upon payment, had it baked  in the public wood-burning ovens found throughout the Sassi. The bakers would  give the leavened dough its final shape, mark it with the family stamp, and bake it.  Each family had its own personal wooden stamp, which would be left  for safekeeping at the public ovens. The history of the bread stamps began in a not very defined past, but the tradition of preparing bread at home and then baking it  in public ovens certainly ended in the 1950s with the advent of new neighborhoods and the diffusion of modern electric ovens.