Family farming gone

Small farms abandoned

Travelling through the landscape of Apulia a month ago, we wound down the scrub-green slopes of the Gargano Promontory, a massive rock projecting into the Adriatic, and largely a national park for its highest and darkest forests.

It was once a sacred mountain too, and still is a place of pilgrimage and healing, and a center for the controversial cult of Padre Pio, as he is buried at San Giovanni Rotondo, where we stayed for a night on our journey south.

To the South  and West lies perhaps the flattest land in Italy, the Tavoliere, a wedge of silt dumped by rivers threading to the coast past Foggia and Cerignola. Everywhere were massive fields, and everywhere were abandoned farms. Along the 25 km. between Lido di Rivoli and the on-ramp to the A14 to the south, we saw perhaps two or three occupied houses. And several walled compounds of massive agribusiness concerns.

View south from the Gargano to the river plains

View south from the Gargano to the river plains

What happened?

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