Transhumance: Beyond the Flock in Abruzzo, Italy
14 August, 2019
In Abruzzo, central-southern Italy, the droving of livestock along migratory routes - la transumanza, or transhumance - often draws visitors to the region. Shepherds from Macedonia, Romania and Guinea Bissau are among those who lead flocks from the Valley of Sagittarius to Roccaraso. It's an experience that transports you to a bygone time and puts you in touch with the Earth.
In Anversa degli Abruzzi, La Porta dei Parchi takes a respectful approach towards nature, using organic methods to raise cattle and goats. For almost 15 years this bio-farm has encouraged responsible tourism, inviting travellers to follow the transhumance for three days, starting in Anversa degli Abruzzi before ascending to 2,200m in the mountains. The hike is slow, the pace dictated by the flock. Under the guidance of a shepherd, the journey is at one with both nature and history.
In November 2019 it will be decided transhumance will be recognised and protected by Unesco as a show of intangible cultural heritage. It's part of Italian civilisation, history and geography, and I hope that this ancient practice will be respected, known and valued.