#1  
Old 05-07-2007, 05:21 AM
james's Avatar
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Default Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

We had friends over to dinner last weekend who are restoring their family home in Puglia. They have finished an internal vaulted ceiing called a Soffito Stellato (a star) made our of large cut stone blocks. I had seen the in-process photos before and saw the pictures of them setting the keystone. It's incredibly and you really should click through the photo journal.

The last stone has a madona enclosed inside, and they cut and tap the stone into place.

If you think cutting the trapezoids for your brick oven were hard, you should see this. They have chain saws, pick axes, you name it, and the stone blocks are huge. The whole ceiling is built without forms. The stone is a locally quaried tufa. They picked it from 3-4 different quaries to get the variation in color.

Very, very cool. Also, the builders are willing to travel, so if you want an incredible stone ceiling in your house, you know who to call. Although the guy who owns the building company is in his 80s (he still works) and his son is in his 50s.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
James

http://www.fornobravo.com/pizza_oven.../soffito1.html
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Last edited by james; 05-07-2007 at 09:19 AM.
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  #2  
Old 05-07-2007, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

Awesome!
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Old 05-07-2007, 07:39 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

Very very cool, but James, page 5 seems to be missing...

Drake
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Old 05-07-2007, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

Thanks for catching that. I think it works now.

Isn't that the coolest thing you've been? I keep thinking of how to add one of those to a house in California. :-)

James
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Old 05-07-2007, 09:33 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

James,
Forgive my limited knowledge of Tufa, but isn't it relatively soft - hence, the chainsaws? My curiosity is in the weight. How does it compare to sandstone, limestone, granite?

Many years ago, I saw a similar (could have been Tufa - I wasn't there to survey building materials) material being used in Bermuda. Constructing virtually the entire home with this material - using the same tools; chainsaws axes, chisels and hammers. What I witnessed was a much more simple design with a flat roofing system I was unable to see, If my memory is correct. I was only able to view the exterior and 1st floor interior.

In any case, this is beautiful, very labor intensive work. I wish to have the opportunity to witness such an incredible project some day. I could watch those guys work for days. Thanks for sharing.

RT
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Old 05-07-2007, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

Now we know where Guastavino got his idea: He developed this tile system when he didn't have access to blocks of tufa for his vaulted ceilings.


Last edited by dmun; 05-07-2007 at 09:49 AM. Reason: add picture
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

RT,

Exactly right on the Tufa. We talked about how there is heavier and lighter tufa, and that their local stone is denser than the stuff you would use for oven insulation. I don't know a lot. A different place in the volcano? A volcano that cooled differently? Different minerals in the volcano?

Of course we talked a lot about food. Puglia bread is the best; it lasts for days and still tastes great. Puglia pizza is similar to Naples pizza and is better than the generic pizza you see in Florence with is too thin and crispy. We all agreed that Sicilian dessert wine is better than Vin Santo. He also thinks olive oil from Bari is better than Tuscan -- which I just can't agree with. :-).

Lot's of fun and a late evening.
James
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Old 05-07-2007, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

David,

Nice find. I had not heard of that before.
James
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Old 05-08-2007, 01:52 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

James,

Quote:
Originally Posted by james View Post
We all agreed that Sicilian dessert wine is better than Vin Santo.
Not better than Isole e Olena's 1999 Vin Santo (30 Euros, or approx $USD40 per half bottle at the cellar door), surely? If so, please send details!!!

As your friends are from Puglia, did they mention that wonderful sweet red dessert wine made from Primitivo grapes?

Paul.
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:02 AM
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Default Re: Stone Vaulted Ceiling in Puglia

I guess some stones are tufa than others. Oh, no. Have I gone tufa? Or am I tufa tu? You'll have tufa give me.
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