Transhumance is an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO

Transhumance or the traditional seasonal migration of livestock has been unanimously registered on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List. In this way, Italy acquires the primacy of enrollments in the rural and agri-food sector, surpassing Turkey and Belgium.
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The UNESCO Commission, meeting in Bogotà, has decided to recognize a candidacy which has seen Italy leader of an alliance with Greece and Austria, advanced in 2017 to protect a practice still widespread today both in Central and Southern Italy, where they are the Reguri tratturi are located, starting from Amatrice and Ceccano in Lazio to Aversa degli Abruzzi and Pescocostanzo in Abruzzo, from Frosolone in Molise to Gargano in Puglia.


September, let us go.
It’s time to migrate.
Now in the land of Abruzzi my shepherds
leave the pens and go down to the sea:
they go down to the wild Adriatic
that is green like the mountain pastures.

This is how the great poet Gabriele D’Annunzio praised transhumance in Abruzzo in his verses of poetry September


In Italy this ancient technique began to be practiced in Abruzzo, Molise and Puglia, with extensions towards the Gargano and the Murge. It consisted in migrating the animals from the high pastures of the Abruzzo and Molise mountains to the more verdant and milder ones of the Tavoliere delle Puglie and Gargano. The importance of this activity was such that it was administered and managed by two institutions specially set up during the Kingdom of Naples. They were the Royal Customs of the Mena delle Pecore of Foggia and the Doganella of Abruzzo.

The Tratturi – sheep tracks

The Tratturo (The sheep track) is a wide grassy path, stony or clay, always with a natural background, originating from the passage and the trampling of the herds. Normally the measurement of the width of the seat of the road track is 111 meters corresponding to sixty Neapolitan passes.

Its route marks the main direction of the complex reticular system of the paths that wind and branch off into minor paths made up of the tratturelli bretelle that joined between they are the main sheep tracks, with arms and rests. These routes were used by shepherds to carry out transhumance or to transfer herds and flocks from one pasture to another on a seasonal basis.

 


 

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