The MALVE DISTRICT is articulated in various ways, spreading over two rocky plains with buildings that overlook the carriageway of Via Buozzi at the front and a series of small piazzette at the rear, with walkways crudely made of paving stones that follow the line of the vaults of the rock-dwellings one level below. This unusual building method has preserved the integrity of the various parts of the Sassi, allowing the area to be urbanised while losing nothing of its own individual character.
The social life of the locals took place in the INTERNAL PIAZZETTA. This is where the children played, where the women took advantage of the fine weather to do their washing in the communal laundries, hanging it out to dry by means of the rings set into the walls, and using long wooden forks to keep it from touching the walls. The women used to sit outside and sew or knit, chatting and keeping a collective eye on the children playing and the elderly members of the community. The rainwater tanks were always located here, as was the oven that served to bake the bread and focacce for the entire district. The chimney pots with their characteristic caps punctuate the roofline.
Once upon a time, on 1st August, the neighbourhood harvest festival known as the Crapiata was held in the piazzetta. Each family group brought along a handful of newly harvested grain and a handful of vegetables, which were then thrown into an enormous pan, cooked, and eaten communally. There then followed music and dancing, and this was one of the old traditions that united the family groups and gladdened their collective hearts.
The OVEN is recognisable for the size of its chimney, which rises tall and mighty amongst all the others from the tops of the neighbouring dwellings. The wood oven was vital for the continued survival of the neighbourhoods. Each family made its own bread, which, once kneaded, was stamped with their own particular mark. The stamp was made of carved wood, a relic of an ancient pastoral art, and was still in use during the period between the two World Wars. There are marvellous examples of these stamps in the Museo Nazionale Domenico Ridola.
To the right of the MALVE, the unmistakeable shape of the great rocky spur of the Monterrone emerges from a conglomeration of ancient dwellings. A series of terraces leads to the high plateau that runs right around the top of the crag, on which there are two facing rock-churches, the Madonna de Idris and San Giovanni in Monterrone.