The Tenduso

by Annie

tenduso1Climate, history, and economic change have given birth to a new architectural form on the island of Pantelleria, off the coast of Sicily. The traditional Pantese dwelling, the dammuso, often has what is called a giardino arabo (arab garden), an enclosed area often adjoining the dammuso itself made with the same dry volcanic stone construction techniques (no cement). This “garden” had no roof, but its walls were high enough to protect the family’s various fruit and citrus trees from the constant, salty seaborne winds.

tenduso2Depending on the wealth of the family, these enclosed areas would be larger or smaller. However, due to the gradual abandoning of these traditional homes, and their change into summer cottages and guest houses, what we have today instead is a dead space that is difficult to manage and find a use for (it has no foundations, so a roof is out of the question), but that would be a pity to tear down.

tenduso3Enter the idea of the tenduso, an invented word which is a combination of dammuso and tenda, or tent. In this case, a traditional thick wool Berber tent from Morocco, and the relative home furnishings, is used.

And voilá! The space is usable once again, with all the thermal advantages of the dammuso, combining local traditions and history.

Created by Tiziana Bosa and Paolo Caravacci for in Pantelleria.



–Contributed by Paolo Caravacci, expert Pantelleria host at

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