In Veroli there is an educational walk on the path from Calcaterra to Prato di Campoli, for the Feast of Transhumance that helps remember this ancient practice that for generations characterized the pastoral and social life of this area. During the day you will be able to celebrate the old traditions and savour the charm of old crafts such as the art of making cowbells, cheese making, milking and branding.
Transhumance is the seasonal shift (migration) of flocks and herds led by shepherds between two different grazing areas: one in the plains (or near the sea) and the other in the mountains. This centuries-old practice guaranteed the best pastures for livestock throughout the year.
Transhumance came, and is still practiced, along the public roads on which the sheep can graze, or along the tratturi, grass paths traced by the transit of the cattle.
In Italy this ancient tradition is repeated every year in the central and southern regions, although transhumant shepherds are also still active in the Alpine area, especially in Lombardy and Alto Adige.
It is a job that almost no-one does anymore. The job is a mission rather than a passion, and you discover that the life of the shepherd is not that of the Tityr of Virgil (who plays the flute under a beech tree) but that of the shepherds celebrated by D’Annunzio.
“September, let’s go. It is time to migrate.
Now in the land of Abruzzi the shepherds
leave the huts and go down to the sea:
they descend to the wild Adriatic
where green is like the mountain pastures” (G. D’Annunzio, The Shepherds)
This ancient tradition is today preserved by the communities of the rural areas and is a candidate to become an intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO Humanity, thus guaranteeing the protection of the territory and its traditions.
For centuries the cattle track has been a significant part of the community’s rural economy, a phenomenon of considerable economic and social importance. Enhancement of these spaces means highlighting not only the natural areas that are crossed, but also the food and wine products that derive from it.
The excursion on June 2nd is organized by the Compagnia dei Viandanti.