The dry stone walls of Pantelleria, a UNESCO World Heritage site

Pantelleria is an astonishing treasure trove of beauty, whose charm lies in the perfect combination of nature and man, two dimensions that rarely reach such a happy balance. Evidence of this can be found in the dammusi, wonderful constructions and splendid examples of eco-sustainable architecture, or in the Pantelleria gardens, which with their high walls protect the precious citrus tree inside. But further evidence of the unique value of the Pantescan landscape is given by the dry stone walls, an extraordinary and ancient rural art that has just been included by UNESCO among the intangible elements of the heritage of humanity, precisely as an expression of that strong and ancient bond between man and nature.

This recognition follows the one already obtained in 2014 for the cultivation of the vine with a tree shape: both can be considered complementary in a sense, representing the concrete testimony of the so-called "heroic agriculture", of that tenacity of man in making nature hospitable and friendly. In Pantelleria, there is no vine without dry stone walls: on the one hand, they protect the plants from the winds that often lash the island, and on the other hand, they help preserve every precious drop of moisture in the soil.

A real work of subtraction and, at the same time, of restitution to the earth: made with unworked stones collected to reclaim the land, the walls line the slopes of hills and mountains, creating ideal terraces for the cultivation even of small plots of land, and at the same time become a hospitable place for the colors and scents of the Mediterranean scrubland. Their wonder also lies in the total absence of materials such as mortar or lime; in the simple use of stones placed and linked in double rows, and in their constant presence on the island: just think that, if they were all placed end to end, Pantelleria's dry stone walls could create a path over 12,000 km long.

A small but great masterpiece so characteristic as to make the landscape of Pantelleria unimaginable without their presence: among the memories of a holiday on the island, it is impossible not to carry in one's heart this wonderful example of culture and manual skill that has given life to a unique territory in the Mediterranean.

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