Facing stone vaults.

The exposed stone vaults are typical of the Salento area. We are used to seeing star times or barrel times with a certain frequency and we even happen not to be too surprised. Yet they are not so obvious for everyone. Those who are in Salento passing through, only for a short stay, are still fascinated by the exposed stone vaults made of barrel or star stone. The exposed stone vaults, not covered by plaster, in fact create an atmosphere of particular suggestion, which captures and remains in the heart. The stone brick vaults can be found both as an architectural cover of buildings of a certain importance such as farms or rustic country houses. Both in common homes, as a recent “antique insert” in a decidedly more modern context.

Codice VF01

Codice VF01

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Codice VF02

Codice VF03

Codice VF03

The exposed vault in school books.

The exposed stone vaults are one of the most valuable architectural elements in a building. There are different types, from the simplest to the most complex, which in the course of the history of art have followed each other in chronological order, like the succession of construction styles, and only rarely mixed with each other: they are called time after time, barrel, sail, cruise, pavilion, ogive, and so on until a list is drawn up that seems to have no end. The brick vault was already known and used by the Egyptians, but had its period of greatest diffusion in Roman times, imposing itself of duty from then on. The appearance of the entire structure and, in a certain sense, its authority definitely depends on the exposed stone vaults.

Codice VF04

Codice VF04

Codice VF05

Codice VF05

Codice VF06

Codice VF06

Stone vaults. Beautiful to see.

And if in the past great attention or care was not paid to the conditions of the vault, whatever its architectural model, and therefore the vaults were covered, painted, scarred, not very “pampered” as they deserved. Today the vaults are discovered, recovered, protected from external agents, treated with great attention and interest. We even witness the covering of vaults or glimpses of the ceiling with stone, which is now experiencing a new golden period in the context of common taste.

Facing stone vaults. Salento shows the stars.

In Salento the exposed vaults have had an easy diffusion due to the particular types of stone found on site: calcareous, therefore soft and, therefore, malleable and easily workable. The vaults with exposed stones enrich the space in which they are used with infinite shades of color and lively and soft light. They also heat the environment, which immediately takes on a welcoming and comfortable appearance, in which it becomes really pleasant to spend time in peace.

Codice VF07

Codice VF07

Codice VF08

Codice VF08

Codice VF09

Codice VF09

Star vaults: a multi-step path.

A star. And how else? Furthermore, in this area, there is little to discuss: the vault par excellence is the star vault. This does not mean that the other types of vault are not used. But the so-called “star” vault certainly has a privileged place in the heart of the Salento people. A special place that, coincidentally, over the years has been gradually obtained also in that of the many tourists and admirers of the traditional culture of these parts. Today the star vault gives added value to the architectural structure and is synonymous with refinement, authenticity, rediscovery of the ancient, attention to one’s roots.

The star vault (also known as the “corner vault”) was born and developed to solve the construction problem linked to the static nature of the cross vault. Determined by the intersection of two barrel vaults.
Star vaults: a multi-step path. But the process isn’t that simple. Because at a star vault you can get there by successive steps. This explains why it is included in the list of “composite vaults”. As mentioned, the starting point is the intersection of two barrel vaults. These generate a classic cross vault. The next step is to add elements of the ribbed vault to the cross vault. And there you have it: the star vault is served. And the Salento people like it so much but not only them, because it is beautiful to look at but also practical to use for numerous reasons.

Codice VF10

Codice VF10

Codice VF11

Codice VF11

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Codice VF12

Why star.

One of the reasons why you should use the star vault to cover your property is that it is a useful solution to the problem of thermal insulation in an area such as Salento. Which knows even very hot temperatures in the summer months.

But that’s not all. The choice of the exposed stone vault in Salento houses was determined by the particular construction type of the housing structures. Generally with a single very large room located on the ground floor around which other secondary rooms were usually arranged. The exposed stone vaults were the most suitable for covering large rooms.
Beyond all these reasons, naturally valid one like the other. The Salento exposed stone vaults are chosen because they are beautiful. So beautiful, it’s a shame to cover it up. That’s why, then, we like it so much to leave it “exposed”.

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