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Unesco: the Italian truffle becomes a World Heritage Site

The search for the precious mushroom involves about 73,600 holders and practitioners in Italy

The "Truffle hunting and quarrying in Italy: traditional knowledge and practices" enters the intangible cultural heritage of humanity protected by Unesco. The decision was adopted on the occasion of the sixteenth session of the Unesco intergovernmental committee which met in Paris. The announcement was made by the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini during the national assembly of the organization.

The art of truffle hunting involves in Italy a national network made up of about 73,600 holders and practitioners, called tartufai, gathered in 45 associated groups in the National Federation of Italian truffle associations (Fnati), by single truffle hunters not united in associations for a total of about 44,600 units and from other 12 associations of truffles which together with the National Association of the city of truffles (Anct) involve about 20,000 free hunters and quarrymen.

A vast community, distributed in the various Italian regional territories, which first of all involves the quarryman-dog couple in a harmonious relationship between the quarryman and nature which is the basis of the transmission of knowledge and techniques related to hunting and quarrying identified as a practice sustainable. While in the family it is still the single oldest truffle hunter, grandfather or father, who teaches the new generations the secrets, tricks, places and techniques of hunting and quarrying.

From Piedmont to the Marches, from Tuscany to Umbria, from Abruzzo to Molise, but also in Lazio and Calabria there are numerous territories beaten by researchers. The search for truffles already practiced by the Sumerians, plays an economic function in support of the inland wooded areas where it represents an important income integration for local communities, with positive effects on tourist flows as evidenced by the numerous celebrations organized in his honor. The truffle is a fungus that lives underground and is made up of a high percentage of water and mineral salts absorbed from the soil through the roots of the tree with which it lives in symbiosis. Born and developed near the roots of trees such as pine, holm oak, cork oak and truffle, it owes its characteristics precisely to the type of tree it developed from. The shape, on the other hand, depends on the type of soil: if the truffle is soft, it will be smoother, if it is compact, it will become gnarled and lumpy.

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EFA News - European Food Agency