Molise exists: come to the transhumance with the latest cow-girl
Molise exists: come to the transhumance with the latest cow-girl

Since social networks are also a reality in Italy the region Molise despite herself she became the protagonist of some groups opened by members.

From the Facebook pages "Molise does not exist" (which has over 24,000 likes) to "I do not believe in the existence of Molise" (there are over 63,000 likes here, more than the inhabitants of the regional capital, Campobasso) is a continuous parody of the vicissitudes of the region and of the people who live and work there.

Oh well, Molise will also have to be reinvented, but you know where the only one lives cow-girl (female version of cowboy, to understand each other) Italian?

In Molise, in fact.

The western imagery, that of the herdsmen lost in some sunny corner of America, has always been populated by male figures. In Italy, something similar reminds us of the tradition of the butteri, the shepherds on horseback typical of the Maremma.

And then there is Carmelina Colantuono, 47, dark eyes, hair and complexion, who continues to do today what his family has been doing for five generations.

Following an ancient agro-pastoral practice called transhumance, Carmelina transfers a herd of 450 cattle of the Podolica and Marche breed - her "capital" - from mountain pastures to those of the plain, from Molise to Puglia through the ancient sheep tracks, as happened in past centuries, instead of aboard trucks in highway.

Four days and three nights of semi-sleep, dinners and lunches to be prepared for the riders during the journey.

And the journey, 200 kilometers to be covered on foot, is repeated in the opposite direction with the arrival of the warm season.

Carmelina, a dairy master by profession (she was recently awarded for the creams, a cheese still produced today as in the 17th century) is from Frosolone, a village of 2,500 souls in the province of Isernia.

Trekking shoes rather than spurs, jeeps alternating with the classic horse, cell phone and GPS, contacts with the forest authorities to manage emergencies. That in an activity that is always fraught with risks such as transhumance there is certainly no lack of:

it is not easy to cross the territories of 25 municipalities, three provinces and two regions. You have to get started months in advance with the questions to be presented to Anas, Forestry, Carabinieri, police, traffic police, Municipalities. An oversight is enough and the herd is stopped: a risk that we cannot afford.

Everyone climbs, herdsman and beasts, up to an altitude of 1300 meters. You go up and down, whether it be hail or rain. Captain bogged down cows that have to be pulled out and young riders who have fallen off their horses. Over the years, with extreme heat and dry land, more than one calf has died.

Cars with red flags must be sent away when the herd crosses paved roads and historic centers, honking the horn is useless:

There is transhumance. Do it yourself: if you want to meet 250 cows, who then gore your car …

Despite the difficulties, the transhumance with the cow girl is conquering more and more tourists, interested in a type of relaxing holiday, in contact with nature.

Crossing the Biferno river, which takes place at dawn, is a unique emotion every time.

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