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The gardens of Pantelleria and the “value” of water

The message of Donnafugata and FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano: from rural wisdom, a lesson in sustainability for the future.

Tomorrow’s water is the theme of the 22nd FAI National Conference, scheduled for Saturday 24 February at Teatro Massimo, Palermo, with the aim of drawing attention to a topic of urgent current interest: water as a resource that is as increasingly scarce as it is vital and precious.

The example of the Donnafugata Giardino Pantesco (Pantellerian Garden), restored and donated in 2008 to Fondo Ambiente Italiano will be presented at the conference; to the over 600 FAI delegates and volunteers participating, José Rallo – the fifth generation at the helm of the family winery – will illustrate the peculiarities of the gardens of Pantelleria, self-sufficient as regards water and therefore exemplars of a sustainable use of water for the future.

Dry built lava stone towers, similar to nuraghi, that enclose within them only one tree, the Pantellerian gardens offer an extraordinary testimony to the measures implemented in a territory where the natural factors are decidedly adverse, and even more so for the cultivation of citrus trees: the absence of fresh water springs, a climate with high summer temperatures, scarce rainfall and intense winds. And it is precisely on the scarcity of water, on the threats of climate change and the desertification processes in ever larger portions of the planet, that the giardino pantesco invites us to reflect.

“When my father Giacomo enthusiastically granted the wish of Marco Magnifico, Executive Vice President of FAI, in order that a giardino pantesco was donated to Fondo Ambiente Italiano (National Trust of Italy) – José Rallo says – he did so to make known this ancient agricultural architecture, symbol of sustainability in the relationship between man and nature. It is lovely that from Palermo, Italian Capital of Culture 2018, the gardens of Pantelleria can offer a reason for reflection on the value of water, in its use in agriculture, and more generally in all human activities. The National Conference in Palermo is, for us who are FAI Corporate Golden Donor, a further opportunity – José Rallo concludes – to offer firm support to Fondo Ambiente Italiano and present the values of common commitment.”

The giardino pantesco reminds us that Pantelleria is an island – more than of fishermen – of farmers who, with admirable intelligence and sacrifice, have guaranteed their community the fruits of a vitamin factory necessary to escape the risks of scurvy. The gardens are therefore the testimonies to the rural wisdom that animates the viticulture still active today on around 400 hectares of the island, and that represents its main source of livelihood: a tradition that has earned UNESCO world heritage recognition for the alberello trained Zibibbo vine, a creative and sustainable agricultural practice.

“How much love and how much toil in these vineyards” repeated Giacomo Rallofounder of Donnafugata to produce the sense of the heroic viticulture of Pantelleria, of which the Passito wine is an icon of excellence in the world, as in the case of Donnafugata’s Ben Ryé. A viticulture that together with the gardens, the capers and the creeping olive trees represent the identity of the agricultural landscape of Pantelleria: a heritage to protect and enhance.

Marsala, 21 February 2018

PUBLIC RELATIONS: Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] ph. +0923 724226; Laura Ellwanger [email protected]  ph. +39 0923 724258; PRESS OFFICE: Nando Calaciura [email protected]  mob. +39 338 3229837

PUBLIC RELATIONS             Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0923 724226

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