DRY STONE WALLS: UNESCO INSCRIBES THE TECHNIQUE AMONG THE HERITAGES OF HUMANITY

30 November 2019

Dry stone walls: stones piled up one on top of the other without using any other element to keep them together if not, sometimes, dry earth.

Apulia, and in particular the Itria Valley, is full of dry stone walls: terrace after terrace, stone after stone, drop after drop of blood and sweat, these works tell of a tradition handed down from father to son, century after century. A knowledge that a few days ago, was inscribed by UNESCO among the Intangible Heritage of Humanity thanks to the candidacy of eight countries all united by the presence of these shrines of Sassi: Italy, Cyprus, Croatia, France, Greece, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.

In Italy we have 170 thousand kilometers of dry stone walls, twenty times the length of the Chinese wall: an exceptional heritage that in our land, the Apulian one, on the one hand, has influenced the agricultural landscape, marking the boundaries of the funds, on the other hand, has allowed stony land to be cultivated, in a sort of continuous recycling and environmentally friendly.

But that's not all. The dry stone walls are not only perfectly integrated into the ecosystem as they offer shelter to many small animals, but at the same time, they regulate the flow of rainwater without blocking the passage.

This important heritage, however, hides a limit: that of protection and conservation. We of Edilserra know it well: to maintain those dry stone walls, jealously preserving the art and the secular landscape is hard and, also, expensive. Also, for this reason, the Apulia Region has provided for 2018/19 100% non-refundable contributions for the rebuilding of dry stone walls: the intervention aims to safeguard and improve the agricultural landscape and preserve natural and semi-natural elements able to promote the maintenance of the self-regulating capacities of regional agro-ecosystems, without any productive purpose.

An opportunity to be exploited, today more than ever, to keep alive an ancient technique that tells all the genius and fatigue, precision and beauty of man's work.

 



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