A simple story, but steeped in the tradition of the small seafaring communities inhabiting the Adriatic coast of Salento since ages.
We are in the Strait of Otranto, Italy's easternmost coast: a strip of land which, with its high cliffs plunges in the cobalt blue waters of a sea, exposed to the winds and the strong and changeable streams.
Along this coastline of extraordinary beauty, between small coves and inlets, the story of the centuries-old seafaring tradition is entrusted to the ancient érgate still partly visible.
... But what are the èrgate?
An integral part of the intangible cultural heritage made of ancient knowledge and "trade secrets", also called the èrgata or barcarizzu (in the area of Otranto and San Foca) is nothing more than a typical fishing technique, that was abandoned during the second half of the twentieth century.
These are fishing tools: semi-fixed structures used to cast the nets into the sea, from the high coast in order to hunt small pelagic fishes, without the aid of a boat. The technique was to cast the nets into the water, by means of blocks (trozzule) on the bottom and furcate on rock, to catch the fishes coming up the current.
Proceeding from the South to the North, along the coast between Marittima di Diso and San Foca di Melendugno, you will come across many places by many different names that become the symbol of this ancient tradition: Luvara, Purrara, 'Ndronicu, Chianca, Zinzilusa, Romaneddhri, Palumbara, Marmura well as being the names of places, rocks, hills, creeks, post, piscare and coves to which fishermen, over the centuries, were addressing their daily boats to nock down their gillnets were also sites and placed of érgate.
Machines for fishing, therefore, the èrgate have become the emblem of a tradition and the example of intelligence of the simple people, for whom the sea is their great resource for everyday life.
This project is funded by the Adriatico Salentino CAG within the OP EFF 2007/2013, Axis IV, Measure 4.1 “Sustainable development of fisheries areas”.
For further info: http://gacadriaticosalentino.it/