Pastoralism and the “Gaí”

The tradition of pastoralism here dates back to at least the 16ᵗʰ century and, according to some documents, by the beginning of the 18ᵗʰ century, there were as many as 30,000 sheep owned by the shepherds of Parre. Originally, shepherding was one of the main occupations in the rural life of Parre and the surrounding areas. Shepherds were responsible for grazing livestock, particularly sheep and goats, in the countryside and hills of the region.

Pastorizia (2)

These shepherds had a deep knowledge of the land and seasons, as well as specific skills in managing livestock and maintaining their well-being. Often, they were also skilled craftsmen, capable of creating tools and objects useful for their daily work.

In the local culture, shepherds were respected and revered for their skills and knowledge, often seen as custodians of tradition and rural life. The presence of shepherds in Parre has contributed to the formation of the identity and culture of the local community over the centuries.

Every year, all the flocks made a memorable journey, the transhumance, towards the pastures of Switzerland, through the famous “Sènter di Castrù”. The traditional starting point was the “fontana dei gran mercati” (the fountain of the big markets) located in the Dossana valley, practically a very narrow gorge where the sheep were forced to pass one by one. Even though today, shepherding is less common and rural life has changed significantly, the legacy and memory of the shepherds continue to be an integral part of the history and culture of Parre.