Dammusi are the typical houses of the volcanic island of Pantelleria, a Mediterranean island between Sicily and Africa. Dammusi are part of the vernacular architecture of the Mediterranean. This type of construction must face up against particular atmospheric conditions: high temperatures (especially in summer) and elements (especially the wind on islands and near the coast).

The term dammuso comes from Latin and means dome. Over the years, dammuso has become a Sicilian word meaning vaulted building and it refers to the typical buildings of the island and their particular shape with an extrados-shaped vault. In Sicily, especially in the south-eastern areas, there are other houses with the same name: they have the same architectural concept but they have had different typological evolutions.

In Pantelleria the dammusi are built according to the morphological shape of the land: terraces and slopes towards the sea. These buildings are made of the volcanic stone of the island and they are built with a special technique of dry construction. The walls can reach a depth of two metres and their thickness has two purposes: to support the dome and to provide thermal insulation. The thickness of the walls gives the building great stability, even though the foundations are not deep. The rocky terrain of the areas where dammusi are built also contributes to their stability. The domes are designed to channel rainwater into a tank next to the house. Both the domes and the cisterns are covered with white lime mixed with volcanic sand. A dammuso is usually divided into three rooms: the alcova, the bedroom and a second room. The kitchen was originally located on the outside of the house and was equipped with a wood-burning oven. Over time, the kitchen has been moved inside the house and there are also built-in closets. Dammusi often have a terrace, a porch and a garden that is surrounded by a circular stone wall that protects the inside of the house, where there can be a citrus tree and a small vegetable garden.


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Pantelleria, un viaggio alla scoperta dei suoi tesori prodotto dall'Associazione Follow ME Communication con regia di Nicola Ferrari https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCbonJjtBcc (last visited 09/04/2022)
https://ildammuso.com/it/dammuso/ (last visited 08/04/2022)
http://www.conoscerepantelleria.it/il-dammuso.html (last visited 08/04/2022)