About four years ago, the first estate in Umbria was confiscated from the Mafia; 100 hectares of agricultural land in the countryside around Pietralunga. A plot that for some time has been returned to productivity due to the work of the volunteers of ‘Libera Altotevere’, the local base of the national association against the Mafia, founded by Don Luigi Ciotti in 1995.
by Andrea Tafini
The work of the people from ‘Libera’, which began a year ago, has returned to the community a valuable resource that’s both material and strongly symbolic. In reality, the commitment of volunteers, with the participation of the Umbria section, comes from a long time ago. «Four years ago we got to know about this property which had been seized from ‘Ndrangheta” – says Matteo Trufelli, a member of the association at district level and in charge of confiscated land and we mobilized immediately to draw the attention of local authorities to this fact and to look for, through Pietralunga council, a way to breathe new life into this resource».
In March 2013, after a long bureaucratic process, Libera Altotevere took over management of the area, and through the summer organized the initial work with young people from all over Italy. «In the first year we focused on cleaning up the fields, which were really degraded – says Matteo – in anticipation of planting a typical local product, the Pietralunga white potato. At the end of May this year the land was ready for cultivation, and we had our first crop of potatoes in October» – a month in which the kids of the association celebrated the event with a veritable feast.
The first potatoes were sold at the March for Peace in Assisi and the Pietralunga festival dedicated to the truffle and white potato. Members of Libera Altotevere have an ambitious project planned for the future of this confiscated land – one which could enhance the group even more. «In the near future the land will be permanently entrusted by proclamation – Matteo tells us – and it’s our aim to form a co-operative to try and gain management of it. We’d like to enhance it with an activity that supports our initiatives, one that combines cultivating local products with a working agriturismo».