Guardia di Folgaria:an unusual «bottom-up» management of thetraditional rural landscape
What is GUARDIA?A little village that belongs to themunicipality of FolgariaHeight: 875 m a.s.l.Placed on the left slope of the valley ofRio CavalloDistance from Folgaria: 10 kmDistance from the Adige Valley: 10 kmClosest villages: Mezzomonte (at 5 km)and Serrada (at 4 km)Regular inhabitants: 73 peopleSummer population: about 150 peoplePublic facilities: a bar-restourant
From the Austrian historical cadastral map (1865)
From the Austrian historical cadastral map (1865)woodlandsvineyardsmeadowscrops and fruit trees
A description of the traditional rural landscape.“I came in Serrada at 10 in the morning and after abreak I went westwards.As I crossed the fields of those rough mountain dwellers,I saw that they were cultivating wheat, rye, barley,cauliflower, turnip, broad bean and buckwheat, whichdoes not become ripe when the season isunfavourable.Anyway, up there the best cares were payed tocabbage. …”Pietro Giuseppe Adalpreto Cristofori (1765-1848),during a botanical excursion on the MountFinonchio which took place on June 20, 1817.
dunggrass, hay, fodder,straw, wood,branches, foliage(dung)grapes, cereal,vegetablesOndertol (639 m)Pozzi (550 m)Guardia (875 m)Prai del Finoncio - Pra dei Guardiani (1500-1600 m)Boschi de la Guardia - Val dei Guardiani (900-1500 m)Vertical relationships
Guardia, 1960The village and the ancientbelt of crops.The belt of woodlands.The belt of grasslands andpasturelands.
Guardia’s pupils in 1920:37 boys and girlsGuardia’s regular inhabitants in 2013:73 people
0501001502002503003504004505001824183318431853186318731879188418951913192119511961197819912003anniresidentiGuardiaMezzomonteSerradaDecrease in population in the period 1915-2013:Serrada: -51%Mezzomonte: -72%Guardia: -74%
Is GUARDIAan unlucky place to live? Long-lasting geographicalisolation Unfavourable north-facingexposition Steep terrain Forced exodus during the FirstWorld War, migrations,depopulation, ageing Missed involvement in thetourist growth of Folgaria Real risks: fringe collocation,land abandonment, loss ofidentity
1861 2009Northern slope of Mount Finonchio:changes in rural landscape over the last 150 years.
Surveyed surface area(661,9 hectares)Variation (1861-2009)Buildings, roads, infrastructures 5,55 ha → 14,13 haWoodlands and wastelands 578,29 ha → 615,02 haMeadows, pasturelands, crops,vineyards, orchards, kitchengardens 78,06 ha → 32,75 ha
Guardia’s current rural surroundings: small glacial terrace with handmade terracing and grassy embankments, mostlywith meadows (crops prevailing in the past); rather large terraces, from slightly to highly steep; dry stone walls made of prevailng limestone.
1861 2009= woodlandsWhy are woodlands not invading Guardia’s surroundings?
The collective mowing of the meadowsof Guardia: Promoted by the «Circolo Culturale e Ricreativo diGuardia» Practised for more than 30 years An annual mowing at the end of June The involved terrain covers about 15 hectares; it isprivate; it belongs to several owners; it is largelyplaced on steep slopes Hand and mechanical mowing (the «Circolo» ownstools and machinery) Self-run non-profit activity The revenues from the selling of hay and a publicfinancing cover the costs
Environmental outputs of the collective mowing: Preservation of the typical mountainous landscapecharacterised by combination and alternation ofvarious patches (woodlands, pasturelands, meadows,orchards, vineyards) (a kind of landscape which iscommonly defined as «beautiful» and «appealing») Maintenance of biodiversity (high variety of plantspecies, animal species, habitats and ecosystems) Preservation of the typical mountainous landscapecharacterised by combination and alternation ofvarious patches (woodlands, pasturelands, meadows,orchards, vineyards) (a kind of landscape which iscommonly defined as «beautiful» and «appealing») Maintenance of biodiversity (high variety of plantspecies, animal species, habitats and ecosystems)But there are social outputs too…
Pressure of geographicaland environmentalfeatures and decline of thetraditional mountaineconomyMigrations, depopulation, landabandonmentReinforcement of thesense of identity, thesense of belonging andsocial cohesion into thelast inhabitants«Bottom-up», self-run,non profit, collectiveinitiatives and activities ofvarious types (cultural,recreational, tourist,environmental)Shared and sustainablecommunity pattern,aimed at preserving localidentity and giving addedvalue to the territory.Contrasting landabandonment anduniformity ofplaces, landscapeand landformsVirtuous circle!
The needed «ingredients»: A local community characterised by high sense ofidentity, public spirit, social cohesion andresponsibility General awareness of the importance of these«bottom-up» good practises and consequent supportfrom institutions (local, regional, national, Europeaninstitutions) Clear and easy-to-apply laws and regulations Initiatives aimed to make these «bottom-up» goodpractises be known, appreciated and supportedBut…how longwill theyresist?
… that has to be known … that is worth encouraging … that needs to be sustained … that could be extended to other similar fringemountainous sceneries.A «bottom-up» good practice…
If you want to know more about the village:LARCHER F., 2007- Guardia, published by «Circolo Ricreativo Culturale Guardia»,311 pagesIf you want to know more about the collective mowing and the environmentalscenery:SARZO A., 2009- I prati di Guardia: un insolito modello di autogestione collettivadel paesaggio rurale tradizionale. Ann. Mus. Civ. Rovereto, Vol. 25: 149-201http://www.museocivico.rovereto.tn.it/UploadDocs/3291_art08_sarzo.pdf
This is the end ofthe annualcollectivemowing:what are theydoing?