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Matera is defined “the city where human history never stopped”: we can trace the path from primitive man till contemporary man in this magic landscape, where Nature and Culture have always coexisted in harmony. The whole district of Matera, included the ‘Murgia’ natural reserve, was once covered in primordial woods (“Lucano” comes from the Latin word “lucus” and means “wood”), with its rivers and subterranean groundwaters, with its animal and vegetable biodiversity and it has represented the cradle of the civilization of Matera. Due to past and present human activity (the deforestation to make place for monoculture especially of wheat, the use of wood for construction and pastoralism) the land and its ecology have been subjected to deep changes.

Who are we?

Our association is called Rocciaviva. ‘Roccia’(stone) as the Murgia stone, ‘viva’ (alive) because it is full of life. Our group is made of young people coming from different cultural and professional backgrounds: biologists, agroecologists, educators and designers. After a deep internal process, carried out after the search of opportunities away from home and so after an experience of uprooting from our own land (something pretty normal among young people in this region), we all developed a communal reflection. A feeling of loss of identity convinced us to come back and put what we have learned on the table to re-build that same identity from the past with an amplified vision, open to the world and to the future. Following strong values of sharing and cooperation, we make a real change, starting materially from the land, the real treasure of human culture.

Our Mission

Cultivating well-being, environmental and social regeneration by sowing change, through: 

  • Construction of a community and a network on the territory; 
  • Reforestation of degraded areas, starting from a land of 5 hectares; 
  • Creation of "forest gardens"; 
  • Spreading of the way of permaculture (sustainable way of living); 
  • Creation of educational and cultural opportunities for the local community and visitors.

What do we do? 

“I could survive the disappearance of all the cathedrals of the world, I could neversurvive the disappearance of the forest that I see every morning from my window” - Ermanno Olmi 

This project starts with the study of the history of agriculture and how it affected our territory over the time. Deforestation and intensive agricultural exploitation of soils by man’s hands brought to major issues such as the high rate of aridity in the summer season, soil erosion resulting in the leaching of nutrients and landslides, the little diversity of plant and animal species, etc. Following the in-depth study of the endemic plants of the territory, including edible and officinal plants and the analysis of the water intake of the area, we decided to intervene with the reforestation of endemic plants and the creation of 'Garden Forests' based on the specific characteristics of the spaces available. 

The 'Forest Garden' is a multi-year planting of multi-purpose plants. In other words, a 'Garden Forest' is an entire edible and officinal ecosystem, a mutually beneficial community of plants and animals designed to produce not only food but also medicines. It is about imitating the forest. It is a process of expanding the horizons of agriculture based on a cause-effect sequence of plants from the ground to the forest, with the qualities of self-renewal, self-fertilization and self-maintenance. 

The pilot project of the association focuses on the reforestation of a land of 5 hectares donated by a private individual and located at surroundings of Matera (fig.1).The owner of the land preferred to be anonymous. 

After several inspections and in-depth studies with experts, we have drafted a project and now we are ready to intervene! 

The most urgent intervention concerns the dangerous cracks caused by soil erosion located on the sides of the ground whose worsening will be contained through the use of check dams (species of terracing with plants with strong roots to support the soil. 

Fig.1 Our land to reforest with respective contours. 

The implementation of the irrigation system is fundamental and, fortunately, it will be drawing waters from an ancient well in the north-eastern part of the map. 

For the actual planting of the trees, carried out in the appropriate seasons (starting from next autumn), we will follow lines throughout the land taking into consideration the level curves for the slope.  

The abundance lines are the main ones, with larger trees and resistant shrubs (fig.2). 

Those of accumulation (fig.3) are instead characterized by fast-growing species that will serve as nourishment to the major trees after a process of pruning.  

Fig.2 Abundance lines. 

Fig. 3 Accumulation lines.

Fig.4 General positioning of the tree lines. 


To feed a degraded soil like that of the chosen area, we will proceed to transport large quantities of organic matter (manure, remains of pruning, etc.). 

The work will be intense, but the result will be worth it! The project involves the involvement of the local community and visitors, both in the actual activities of planting as well as in carrying out educational and cultural meetings, for different age groups, with permaculture themes.

What will we do with the donations? 

  1. Pilot project: land of 5 hectares at 'Masseria La Fiorita'.

Creation of the irrigation system - EURO 3000 

Implementation of a system of soil nourishment through addition of compost and organicmatter – 3000 EUROS 

 Work on soil erosion cracks with check dam systems - 6000 EUROS 

 Choice and purchase of plants and materials (ABOUT 3000 SPECIES) – 8000 EUROS 

Organization and advertising of events for planting with the local community - EURO 3000 

Organization and publication of training courses for citizens and visitors of all age groups - 5000 EUROS 

Maintenance – 5000 EUROS 


  1. Parallel projects, to be developed as a result of existing proposals from private farmer willing to let us manage their lands.

The funds dedicated to these projects will be allocated to the same items indicated in theprimary project. MORE FUNDS WE REACH WITH THE CAMPAIGN, MORE LANDS WE WILL REFOREST! 

You will be noticed every purchase or work we do with the donations.

Every step we take will be published on our facebook page Rocciaviva Matera once every two weeks. After the period of the campaing you still can follow the facebook page!


Banca Popolare Etica Società Cooperativa per Azioni.

Via Ottavio Serena, 30, 70126 Bari (Ba)


IBAN CODE: IT74N0501804000000016800948

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    Offline donation

Team Members


Chien Yu Lin

Gabriella Rizzardini

Jean-François Richer

Jènie Loiselle

Paola Di Cuia

Susanna Camerlengo