An artist’s fight to save the culture of the Italian cowboy

May 01, 2023 317

BY: Mark Davis

For centuries, Italian cowboys — i butteri as they are called — have raised horses and herded cattle through regions of the southern European nation. There are many parallels one can draw from their culture and lifestyle with western American cowboys, but for a couple significant differences; these cowboys have more than 2,500 years of history in the saddle and their unique way of life is more threatened.

It was a decade ago that journalist and artist Gabrielle Saveri was finally able to find a contact within the tight group after many futile attempts. She searched hard for the cowboys while working as a journalist in Rome, but her search for the few dozen individuals still living the life of the butteri was failing. Not even residents in the area knew much about them, she said.

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