Castello di Potentino

Shepherd’s Feast celebrating the Arrival of the Sheep at Potentino and the Cultural Traditions of the ‘ Transumanza’

Starts on: Friday, July 26, 2019

Ends on: Sunday, July 28, 2019

Availability:45

Potentino has been working with the cheesemakers Francesca and Lorenzo from Caseificio Murceti for a few years now and some of you will have enjoyed their pecorino and cheese-making demonstrations. 

Our first connection happened as I had been desperately seeking ricotta – real ricotta which they really do make.  Most of what you find these days commercially is not technically ricotta as cream or milk is put into the mix for larger yields.  Sheep’s cheese is generally much lighter and easier to digest so tortelli made with this false ricotta is just basically stodgy instead of delicate and exquisite.  Murceti use their own milk from the flock they tend and natural methods based their family’s traditions - unlike many other producers who buy in foreign milk or curds and use chemical coagulants.  Shepherds in Italy have been tipping their milk on the roads in protest recently at low prices created by industrial production and importation. 

The sheep is not a lowly beast at all - it is historically considered to be one of the most important elements in the development of the human race. Cheese, wool – clothes to keep us warm –  food when we travelled with the flock to find new pastures.  You really could not move if you did not have your sheep. When you settled they processed the grass into food for you as well as providing yarn for weaving into tents or sacks for food transport.  Lovely felt as well – the wool from our flock which we are making into hats is really beautiful and you can still see the little seeds and burs that got stuck in the fleece when the sheep were grazing in the textile.

So we have decided to celebrate the arrival of the sheep at the Castle with a Shepherds Feast and amazingly enough,  I discovered when I doing some research that Potentino was on one of the old migration routes from the mountains to the coast known as ‘tratturi’.  These had a legal status and began to be regulated by the Etruscans and Romans.  It is likely that the property was a ‘bandita’ or a customs area where sheep were counted and taxed.  It is notoriously difficult to count sheep so I am sure there were lots of shenanigans with cunning or ‘la furbezza’ on all sides.

 We also would like to pay tribute to all the shepherds who are currently fighting to defend their way of life, their knowledge, their animals and their culture by introducing more people to the realities of the pastoral world. 

 

  • Two nights stay including full board and lodging at Castello di Potentino
  • A wine tasting of Potentino's wines with a tour of the cellars and the castle.
  • A walk with the sheep following one of the old routes of the transumanza
  • Demonstration of the manual shearing and milking of the sheep
  • Demonstration of the cheesemaking by Lorenzo and Francesca from Caseificio Murceti
  • A shepherds' feast in the courtyard of the castle with the local mountain singers the Cardellini del Fontanino
  • A felt making and weaving workshop

We have not included any transportation to or from Potentino. Please email Alexander if you would like to organise a car.

If you have any questions before you book, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email to alexander.greene@potentino.com

Participants