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16 November 2005

Transhumance Routes in Italy

"Transhumance (changing pasture) occurs [...], where the geographical situation and the difference in climate between mountains and coast has led man to create a mobile, pastoral economy. In the Apennine regions of Italy, the transport of animals often involves long distances: moving the herds from the mountains of Abruzzo to the plains of Apulia usually took a month in each direction. This economy eventually became so profitable that during Roman times the network of drove roads (calles ), virtually became a state within the state and even, from a certain time, constituted a province in the Roman administration. The territory and organisation was controlled by the state and a strictly hierachical labour force, including slaves, was formed.

In contrast to the Roman roads, which were designed and constructed for military ends, the transhumance routes were used for many purposes. The many calles crossing these inland regions brought a continuous flow of men, goods, animals and soldiers."

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