COMMON LAND AND SHARED OWNERSHIP THE CONSORTELLE: VAL DI RABBI’S TRADITIONAL FARMING ASSOCIATIONS
Across the whole of the Val di Rabbi there are more than twenty Consortelle and it is common for residents to belong to one of these institutions. They cover the whole valley and own the majority of the land. The centuries-old work of carefully looking after the land undertaken by these associations has shaped the uniform landscape that is well cared-for, providing the inhabitants and visitors with pristine scenery that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The creation of these associations can be traced back to the formation of groups of people, called “associates”, who owned or rented houses and land in different parts of the valley.
This happened because, right up until the beginning of the modern era, the extreme levels of poverty meant it was not possible to divide up property among heirs, so everyone would cultivate the land together and share the fruits of their labours, paying what was due to the feudal masters, who owned much of the valley. This status gave them various rights and concessions on the more mountainous areas: rights to graze animals, collect wood and cut grass. Decisions were therefore made about which areas of the mountains each community could exercise their rights in.
The direct connection between the lower valley and the mountains shaped the current Consortele: the mountain areas, with recognised boundaries, took their name from the mountains on which the associates exercised their rights. Members are entitled to graze their animals on this land and to collect wood there. Today, there are 23 such associations which own 5,320 hectares of land in the Val di Rabbi. Eleven of these also own Alpine dairies, known as “malghe”. Each of these associations is governed by a statute and has an up-to-date register of members. Changes are recorded of sales or inheritances. The associations are responsible for managing the woodland, in accordance with the forest laws, maintaining the mountain roads, controlling access, channelling water and replanting the forests. Their extensive work in the region is a precious resource for this valley and its beautiful natural sights, contributing to the protection of the environment and maintaining the vital balance between nature and human beings.
THE COOPERATIVE SYSTEM: THE MEANING OF COOPERATION
Even today, the mountain dairies still work using the traditional cooperative system. It is a way of working that is tailored to the area’s way of farming.As each farmer only has a small number of animals and therefore the daily volume of milk which can be used to make cheese is also relatively small, they each have a “turn” at the dairy.The dairyman, who is responsible for making the cheese, must check the amount of milk produced by each cow and record the quantity and quality of the milk from each animal for each batch of cheese, checking the balance between the quality of the milk produced by the cows of each owner and the quantity of cheese taken by the farmer.The cheese produced in this way is eaten by the owners and distributed locally.This system helps to ensure a balance between all owners, providing an income even for smallholders, unlike in larger scale systems.
Rabbi Vacanze has launched a new rating system for holiday homes in the Val di Rabbi using ‘nests’. The aim is to provide full transparency about the information provided and the facilities on offer. Download the document to find out more about how they are graded.