As centuries passed, peasant farmers gradually began to become landowners, and more walls were erected to further divide properties, mark the boundaries of pastures, stripe the hills with terraces, or create borders along narrow roads – called trazzere – that linked various farms.
Perhaps most amazing of all, it is still possible to find skilled workmen to build muretti a secco. These stonemasons possess an uncanny ability to choose the right stone from a pile of rocks that fits perfectly into the “puzzle” of the wall, or to whack a huge stone with a heavy mallet and have it break into just the shape desired. For the rest of us mortals, we can nurse a backache just from watching them.
An expert on walking and culinary tours in many areas of Italy, with a special focus on Sicily, Anita Iaconangelo is the founder of Italian Connection Tours and author of the blog Anita’s Italy. She is currently at work on a book entitled Savoring Sicily: A Culinary Quest.