The japanese architect Hidenobu Jinnai defined the old town of Cisternino as a ‘masterpiece of architecture without architects’. The historic centre is a rare and fascinating example of architecture which arose without a pre-established urban plan, but from the need to create common spaces in which human relations could be established and woven together.

In a completely white frame, the historic centre unwinds through alleyways which link the five principal areas of the town: l’isule, whose name probably comes from its square shape outlined by the streets which surround it and which isolate it from the rest of the town: Scheledd, this area takes its name from the presence of raised stones which acted as speed bumps and limited the velocity of the carriages on its streets; U’ Pandene is the area situated in the southern part of the historic centre whose name comes from the word for a marsh (pantano), an area which was liable to flooding because it was lower than the area called Bbere vecchje or the old town, the oldest area and the largest situated towards the north of the historic centre; and finally there was the U Bburie, area, whose name means ‘town’ and this is the most recent part that was developed around the 14th century, when the local petite bourgeoisie had their first buildings constructed outside the defensive walls of the town.

As you walk through these quarters, you will be amazed by the small lodges, the grotesque masks and the arches which link the narrow streets and the stairways, left outside to create more space inside the small houses.





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