NEWS » Trullis under threat from proposed new motorway?

Trullis under threat from proposed new motorway?

A war broke out in Cisternino, Puglia, val Itria after the socialist mayor Donato Baccaro re-launched the project for building a motorway to connect Cisternino and Ostuni. The “strada dei colli” would mean 20 km of concrete through the Murge woods where the famous Trulli are .

The city council tried to build the highway in 2009 with 4 billion of European funds. A local owner and the WWF filed an appeal. The regional administrative court and the Council of State upheld the appeal. Now the city council has re-launched the project flanked by the construction company Technital.

According to the city council the connection between the provincial roads 17 and 18 would bring work, development, tourism, new residences and facilitate the pilgrimages to the shrines and the access to churches built on and carved out of the rocks.

The committee in defence of the territory is against the project. In their opinion it would be sufficient to widen the existing layout instead of building a new road. The Val Itria is one of the most beautiful wood areas of Puglia, one thousand trees would be cut down, 500 of which are centuries-old olive trees. Not only the wood would be damaged but also the landscape, as on the side of the road are the famous Trulli, traditional Apulia dry stone buildings typical of the Itria Valley, used as temporary shelters in the fields or permanent houses mainly in the 19th century.  

The opponents, rounded up in the committee are a group of country people, intellectuals and environmentalists, Trulli owners and land owners but also English and Dutch designers, journalists, rich creative people and famous ones, such as the ex minister Umberto Veronesi, the director Marco Bechis, the banker Guido Roberto Vitale, the model Ratz Degan, the stylist Kean Etro, the couple Riccardo Scamarcio and Valeria Golino, and the photographer Lisetta Carmi. Testimonial of the group is the film director Edoardo Winspeare.

According to the opponents, if the “strada dei colli” is constructed, the impact on the environment would be disasterous, as the dry stone walls  built with a traditional technique on the sides of the road  would be destroyed and it would be impossible to rebuild them.   

Giulia Lombardo

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