‘Oh-Oh, Ay-Ay!’ Riding to an Italian Rhythm on the Transumanza

Sep 17, 2019 211

BY: Maria Russo

“Expect four days of sacrifices,” Carmelina Colantuono told me a week before I left New Jersey to travel with her family and their 300 podolica cows from Puglia, where the cattle pass the colder months, to their home in the Molise region of Italy. I was joining an eager band of cowboys, herders and pilgrims, some on horseback, some on foot, who wanted to experience her family’s 110-mile transumanza, the twice-yearly journey undertaken around the world to move grazing animals between winter and summer pastures.

In Italy the transumanza proceeds along tratturi, lanes etched into the land by herdsmen, cows and other livestock over two milleniums. As an unbroken link to the culture's agricultural past, the network of tratturi - "Almost a silent grassy river/ on the footsteps of the ancient fathers," as the poet Gabriele D'Annunzio described them - has a unique qmotional resonance for Italians. 
 

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SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com

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