Alta Langa School for the Thirsty participated in “Festival Sassi e non solo” – ATNews.it

The team from Alta Langa Dry Stone School also participated in the sixth edition of the Sassi Festival and beyond. It was already promised at the end of October 2019, when in Cortemilia, on the occasion of the “Dry stone phenomenon”, the special project for Alta Langa Montana Union “Alta Langa thirst school” was formally launched, coordinated by both from a technical- scientific point of view, operationally by ITLA (International Terraced Landscapes Alliance) ITALY and in continuity with the activities of the Ecomuseum of Terracing and the Cortemilia wine.

“Unione Montana Alta Langa especially believes in this school project because it is aware of the importance of passing on the thirst construction technique to its territory.or – he says Roberto Bodrito, President of the Montana Union – c‘there is a need to train skilled craftsmen, to ensure that this profession is known, valued and can be a good job opportunity for young people. After the meeting in 2019 – the demonstration site had been built on Cortemilia’s main square – there was the first meeting of the Italian thirst craftsmen in Cortemilia in the summer of 2021 and in October 2022
we plan to arrange a dedicated event. The appointment of “Sassi e non solo” is an annual opportunity for the thirst craftsmen to meet each other, testing themselves in a competency competition on this construction technique: In about 7 hours they will build a retaining wall in the thirst 2 meters long and about one meter and eighty inches high. To divide the different segments of the stone walls that each team builds, there are large stone monoliths (such as menhirs), each team has stones provided by the organization and must continue with the right expertise in all construction phases, starting from the base to the top of The wall without neglecting the organization of the construction site.
The growth of the wall can be admired by the public who arrive to observe how this ancient building technique works, present all over the world, which unites craftsmen, inhabitants, farmers and landscapes. A construction technique that today more than ever is recognized as valid today, and which for this not only deserves, but the need to be handed down is clear, because it is basic knowledge to maintain and regain the territory and is not lost: fertility management land , water, prevention of hydrogeological instability, history, landscape, attractiveness. And in the technique only stones, no binders are used “.

Also stay from England

The teams in this edition – consisting of two or three professional craftsmen – came from England, Ireland, Trentino, Puglia, Liguria and Piedmont. And Piedmont was just represented by the Alta Langa school consisting of Oscar Vinotto and Fabrizio Rizzolo: they are united by being born in Alta Langa, by the deep bond to their country of origin, by having learned the craft as a stone craft from the village elder (Fabrizio) and their father (Oscar), who taught them to work, lays the Langa stone, tricks and tricks useful for building dry stone retaining walls, restoring traditional farmhouses, converting the roofs into stone “in ciape”. They both started working as children and the practice of doing, the passion, precision and care with which they dedicate themselves to their work, has meant that they have been valued and demanded not only by local customers but also by foreigners, who are increasingly choosing Alta Langa as a new country to live in, fascinated by the landscape and the traditional farmhouses built in Langa stone.

The judges did not have an easy life identifying the pro forma winner. Among the expert audience, each team had its supporters, many cheered for Alta Langa, who eventually for a few points of difference won second place ahead of an equal win from England and Ireland. Their stone wall was enriched by the presence of “Ritonella”, a sculpture specially created by the artist Remo Salcio, who, had it not been for his other institutional obligations, would have been part of the team.

“Alta Langa European expertise”

Very pleased with this result were the craftsmen, who not only brought home an important recognition, but also a wealth of experience and valuable contacts on which they could build. “It is essential that Alta Langa, with its very rich heritage built in dry stone, is part of the network of the Italian School of Dry Stone and participates in initiatives for confrontation between Italian and European artisans. These opportunities can not be missed. , because this is the only way to gain awareness their role as specialized craftsmen, they share a method path that allows you to bring to life training moments in your own territory – He says Donatella Murtas who has favored the presence of Alta Langa at the festival in Trentino and is the rapporteur for the project – there is a need for skilled craftsmen who can meet the growing demand for “state of the art” restoration of the stone landscape and the desire to learn “

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