Marsi’s Pastoralism: the rural Abruzzo of shepherds


Marsi’ Pastoralism


The rural Abruzzo of shepherds

Marsi’s Pastoralism is a short reportage about livestock workers in Marsica, a subregione of Abruzzo, Italy. Here, farming has always been a business attached to the local tradition.

One of the interesting aspects of pastoralism located in South Italy, more specifically in the area of my interest, is a phenomenon called transhumance, a seasonal movement of people with their livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In the area of my interest there is, because of the mountains, the vertical transhumance which forces the shepherds to movements between higher pastures in summer and lower valleys in winter throught drover road called tratturi.

In Southern Italy the practice of driving herds to upland pastures in summer dates from time immemorial but has enjoyed a long documented history until the 1950s and 1960s with the advent of alternative road transport. Drover roads or tratturi 111m wide several more than 100 km long permitted the passage and grazing of herds, principally sheep, and attracted regulation by law and the establishment of a mounted police force as far back as the 17th century. Tratturi remain public property and subject to conservation by law protecting cultural heritage.

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