The MOOM, Matera Olive Oil Museum, is located in the Sassi of Matera, in Vico 1° Casalnuovo, and has been realized in an old rock press as proof of the historical features of the cave and its integration in the urban landscape.
The building hosting the MOOM is assumed to date back to the XV-XVI century. The structure was initially composed exclusively of caves dung into the tufa rock. Upon entering, one notices immediately how the facilities were enlarged over time thanks to successive excavation allowing for the expansion of existing rooms and the creation of new ones.
At times, the material from an excavation was reused within the same structure in order to facilitate the passage from one room to the next by raising the floor. In Casalnuovo, the olive press was enlarged as the technology improved and the work increased. The presence of cavities in the rock shows the level of activity over time. The rock was in fact used to hold equipment and was the base for warehouses and cisterns.
The upper part of the Casalnuovo press was built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as it can be deduced from the shape of the doors and the windows. The construction techniques of the walls also point to this estimation as well as the size of tufa rocks used for the vaults and the type of the slab where the tiles were resting directly on the wooden slab.
The press was located along Via Casalnuovo because it was one of the few drivable roads in the Sassi. This allowed the flourishing of crop-related transformation activities. Until the end of the nineteenth century the area was considered a suburb of the city. Nowadays, Via Casalnuovo is a busy street thanks to its proximity to several tourist routes, shops and restaurants.