The millennia-old tradition of the "Tratturi”

Characteristic of the beautiful region of Molise is the so-called "tratturi," which are the ancient drift paths along which the grazing areas of the cattle were seasonally changed in pre-Roman times.

Tratturi: Exploring the ancient transhumance routes of Molise

Transhumance and the Ancient Tratturi

Transhumance followed strictly predetermined paths from the cool mountain pastures of Abruzzo to the warmer areas of the “tavoliere” in Apulia. The Samnites practiced itinerant shepherding in the 6th century BC, reaching its peak during Roman times. These paths helped better connect the towns of the Empire and were developed significantly during this period.

Some drift paths, known as “green giants,” remain perfectly preserved today thanks to the Aragonese, who resumed the tradition in the 15th century to expand trade in agricultural products.

Modernisation and Development

As part of the modernization, authorities redesigned the drift paths and built smaller paths called “tratturelli.” These connected to the main paths with small linking routes. They also constructed stone side borders and customs posts for trade affairs. A total of 70 municipalities in Molise, including Campobasso, Boiano, and Isernia, developed along these cattle trails.

In 2006, the Regional Park of the “Tratturi” was nominated as a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The millennia-old “Tratturi” found throughout the region offer unique hiking routes.

Notable Tratturi Routes

One of the most beautiful tratturi connects the Gargano National Park with the Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park. The “Tratturo Celano-Foggia” crosses the National Park della Majella and the archaeological areas of Vastogirardi and Pietrabbondante. Along the way from Castel di Sangro to Lucera in Puglia, visitors can explore the impressive Di Sangro Castle.

The “Tratturo” from Pescasseroli to Cendela covers a distance of 200 km, crossing Castelpetroso in Molise. This route features enchanting mountain landscapes and the magnificent “Sanctuary Vergine Santissima Addolorata.” After passing through Cantalupo in historic Samnium, Bojano, and Guardaregia, it reaches Sepino, famous for its archaeological site with many Roman ruins.

The Tratturo del Re

One of the most famous “Tratturo” routes from Aragonese times is the path from L’Aquila in Abruzzo to Foggia in Puglia. Also known as the “Tratturo del Re” (“King’s Drift Path”), this route in Molise crosses many beautiful towns, such as Termoli on the Adriatic Sea. In Termoli, visitors should explore the charming old town and the “Castello Rocca Federiciana.”

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The millennia-old tradition of the "Tratturi”

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