The tradition of transhumance has been listed and the Scala dei Turchi will go through the recognition process
UNESCO officially listed transhumance, the traditional practice of seasonal migration of livestock, as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Italy, Greece, and Austria presented the candidacy jointly, but for the Bel Paese, this is the 12th entry in this list. While it is going to present the candidacy for what hopefully will become its 56th World Heritage Site, La scala dei Turchi (Agrigento).
The recognition of transhumance concerns the whole of Italy, from the Alps to the Tavoliere delle Puglie. From Amatrice (Rieti) – from where the candidacy was proposed immediately after the devastating 2016 earthquake – to Frosolone (Isernia), Pescocostanzo and Anversa degli Abruzzi (L’Aquila), Lacedonia (Avellino), San Marco in Lamis and Volturara Appula (Foggia), Val Senales (Bolzano). It is also practiced in Lombardy, Trentino Alto-Adige, and Basilicata. But also in Lazio, Valle d’Aosta, Sardinia, and Veneto.
The transhumant pastors, as highlighted in the candidacy dossier, have a thorough knowledge of the environment, climate change, and the ecological balance between man and nature. Indeed, it is one of the more sustainable and efficient farming methods. With this form of pastoralism takes place every year in spring and autumn: herders with dogs and horses drive thousands of animals along steady routes between two climatic regions, from dawn to dusk.
The curator of the candidacy dossier, Pier Luigi Petrillo, expressed high satisfaction for the recognition. He also pointed out that Italy holds the world record number of entries in the agro-ecosystems category. Among them, he mentioned the Mediterranean Diet, and the Practice cultivating head-trained bush vines in Pantelleria. But also the Art of the Neapolitan Pizzaiuolo and that of dry stone walling.
In the meantime, another Italian wonder is about to embark on the journey to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Sicilian Regional Assembly unanimously approved to support the candidacy of La Scala dei Turchi. The impressive rocky cliff in the province of Agrigento, between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle, is a true gem. The name means ‘Stair of the Turks’. The Stair, between two sandy beaches, is formed by an enormous block of white limestone that the sea shaped into a staircase. The second part of the name refers to the frequent raids the Moors carried on in this spot.
Michele Catanzaro, a member of the regional parliament, said that this location is “representative of the identity of the province of Agrigento and the whole of Sicily.” As the promoter of the initiative, he hopes that this process and the potential listing will help protect and enhance the important naturalistic site.
With its abundance of UNESCO recognitions, Italy proves to be one of the most amazing countries in the world.
Ilona Catani Scarlett