Rural Landscapes of Italy: Le Murge (Puglia)

Friday, 8 February 2013

I am not particularly interested in landscape photography, but when the symbiosis of man with its territory is revealed, when archaic lifestyles integrate with the natural landscape, what emerges is not only aesthetic beauty, it is such as if a painter did it to remember us that we are just keepers of the land we live, not rulers.

Le Murge is a landscape system that occupies the central part of Puglia, bordering to the east by the Adriatic Sea to the west with the Fossa Bradanica, to the North with the Ofanto Valley, to the south by the Salento and the arc Jonico Tarantino.

The word comes from the Latin Murgia MUREX ie sharp stone, and there could be no more appropriate term because the plateau is characterized by the presence of limestone that has given rise to numerous karst and hypogeum phenomena such as sinkholes, ravines, the blades, sinkholes and caves.

Totally lacking in the territory are permanent surface watercourses, while there is a groundwater flow with a rich deep aquifer and numerous small shallow groundwater exploited for irrigation of the fields.

The Alta Murgia National Park, established in 1998 by Law 426, covers an area between the Bradanica valleys and depressions which lie towards the Adriatic coast, a quadrilateral extended for more than 100,000 hectares, with towns that are positioned only along its perimeter.

The Park is characterized by widespread and stratified signs of man’s civilization and nature, from the system of farms and iazzi of high historical and cultural value, the system of sheep tracks, of transhumance, systems for water collection, the archaeological sites.

Murge are a desert only for those who do not know the extraordinary diversity of its life forms. In its skies you can follow the birds flying in circle waiting to catch some prey (small reptiles, rodents or crickets). The Murge were once covered with forests of oak, now reduced to small, precious woods such as Corato or Acquatetta forest near Minervino.

From a photographic point of view, I was particularly involved in the shape this territory takes during the silent period of winter, when the fields remain inert, like an artwork created by man over the centuries, fields are quiescent and combed by a strong and relentless wind. Sturated colors after the rain return the pictorial value of these visions.


© 2012 Marco Palladino – all rights reserved




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