the ‘basole’ and dry-stone wall master craftsman - Terre di Corillo
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the ‘basole’ and dry-stone wall master craftsman

the ‘basole’ and dry-stone wall master craftsman

Gino began at a very early age to learn the slow, ancient and laboursome craft of building dry-stone walls, and today he is a true master.

"For dry-stone walls," he explains, "recycled or leftover stones are used. The larger pieces are placed with the flat part facing outwards, while the inside is filled in with smaller stones, known as ‘ballast’. Normally, dry-stone walls are built with a gradient ranging from 10% to 15%, in the case of containment walls".

The main difficulty is then to lock the stones together so perfectly that the wall not only stands firm without the use of mortar (hence the name dry-stone) but has a harmonious appearance. And it is here that experience becomes essential.

It takes a lot of patience and painstaking work with the hammer to create the opus incertum, as Gino calls it, citing in Latin the same construction technique used by the ancient Romans.

At Terre di Corillo Gino has always been in charge of the reconstruction of the Pajare (the old sheds for storing work tools) and the spectacular rosewood colonnade, as well as all the interior and exterior ‘basole’ floors of the Masseria.

For other structures, meanwhile, another technique was used, which is also a part of the local tradition: cocciopesto, made as it always has been, by mixing lime with recycled terracotta fragments.

Once the flooring has been laid it is pounded and repounded to make the surface smooth and even. The result is a sort of ante-litteram ecological pavement, which is environmentally friendly in that it uses recycled materials.

"I have always loved this job, even though my father would have preferred me to continue studying." The secret? "Having a lot of passion", he says. The words of a true craftsman.