02-Planeta_manchette_175x100
Allegrini 2018
RURAL ITALY

The villages, the backbone of Italy: the thought of Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food

A “victory” also for Ermete Realacci and Symbola: young people rediscover small municipalities, in depopulation for decades

The villages are the backbone of the Belpaese, both when it comes to the agricultural and food sectors, and when it comes to the heritage of shops that, from North to South, create an economy that is difficult to sustain, but fundamental to protect. However, the numbers show an increasingly hard reality for small municipalities that, as Slow Food points out, welcome 10 million inhabitants, but occupy 54% of the national territory, and in the last 40 years have seen the population fall by more than 50%, with peaks of up to 80%. However, the picture is improving because, as the founder of the snail association, Carlo Petrini, writes, there are more and more projects aimed at reconstructing microeconomies in areas at risk of abandonment and depopulation, especially in the hinterland, thus confirming a trend already told to WineNews by Ermete Realacci, president of Symbola, who has always been at the center of his battles in the recovery of villages and traditions. “In the face of continuous depopulation of small countries (2,000 municipalities, mostly mountain, have lost more than 20% of the population in the last 40 years, with 300 having a depopulation rate ranging from 50 to 80%) - writes the president of Slow Food - today some positive signs with respect to a possible reversal of the trend can be glimpsed. Agriculture, of course, also plays a central role in Petrini's thought. “All of this is and can become a source of wealth - the founder of Slow Food goes on to say - if it is part of a plan for a circular economy, re-localization and the promotion of true ecological tourism. Agriculture can and must be at the heart of this process because it is the sector that can put the greatest value on these resources through virtuous practices”. A line that Ermete Realacci and Symbola-Fondazione have always taken, and which sees villages as the fulcrum of the country’s identity and competitiveness: “there is an Italy that defies the crisis by focusing on its own identity, an Italy that makes Italy and competes without losing its soul: in these small towns, 92% of PDO and PGI food products are produced, and 79% of the finest Italian wines”.

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