Italian transhumance: a journey to discover a pastoral tradition

Sep 23, 2021 213

BY: Giulia Di Felice

"September, let’s go. It is time to migrate. Now in the lands of Abruzzo my shepherds leave the folds and go towards the sea: they go to the wild Adriatic that is green like the pasture of the mountains."

This is how Gabriele D’Annunzio’s poem I Pastori (The Shepherds) goes, where he accurately describes Italian transhumance. A name with a clear Latin etymology, that contains a millennial tradition, made of shepherds and flocks, of migrations from the hills to the valleys, of uses and connection with the earth.

That of moving livestock towards places more suitable to the winter time is a very ancient tradition, old as time, and that in Italy can be dated back to prehistory. In Alto Adige, specifically in Val Senales, there is the oldest Italian transhumance trail, which apparently dates back to pre-historic times. 

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