Along the Sheep Trail

October 6, 2008 / Local Interest
Le Marche
High in a mountain valley south of Ascoli Piceno you’ll find solitude, cool air, and the relics of a bygone era called le caciare. Round huts built without mortar by stacking stones in a concentric manner to form a beehive shape, the caciare were constructed and used by shepherds for many years as they grazed their flocks in the mountains.

There are said to be one hundred of the unusual shelters scattered about, testimony of the importance of the wool industry in this region, dating back to medieval times.

The conical shape of the caciare are reminiscent of the trulli in Puglia, and may well have been inspired by them since the Wool Route stretched from Abruzzo all the way to the plains of Puglia.

In some of the fields, evidence (..ahem) of sheep still grazing here is abundant, and you may just encounter the animals and their shepherds. The views sweep across three mountain ranges, and the only sounds you’re likely to hear are rustling grasses and the occasional sheep bell. These high pastures are perfect for a tranquil, picturesque picnic … with ready-made thousand year-old rain shelters close by. The view from them isn’t all that bad either . . .

Valerie Schneider

by Valerie Fortney- Schneider

Through her company My Bella Basilicata Valerie uses her tourism industry experience to offer travel planning and on-site genealogy research in the Basilicata region. She is a freelance writer with magazine and website articles to her credit, adores cappuccino, and is an enthusiastic cook.

Valerie Fortney-Schneider

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