THE ALPINE PASTURES
Valle di Lodano has five alpine pastures: Alp di Pii, Alp da Nagairón, Alp da Canaa, Alp da Cófna and Alp da Tramón.
Existing documents chronicle alpine settlements in Valle di Lodano since the 13th century. This old form of land use occurred through seasonal migration. During four months, from June to September, alpine farmers moved with the livestock (cows, goats, and pigs) from the valley floor to the high altitude pastures above, making a few stops along the way to graze the animals, first at mid-mountain pastures (maggenghi) and then at the two corti (building and surrounding pastures) that made up the alpine pastures (alpi).
The journey took place on foot and everything was carried on the back. Except for the few journeys from one pasture to the next, daily activities were marked by routine: the cows and goats were milked at dawn then brought to the pasture to graze, while the dairyman stayed in the cabin to make butter and cheese. The rest of the day was devoted to small jobs like maintaining paths or cutting and chopping wood. In the late afternoon, the animals had to be milked again. The work day ended at dusk.
Each alpe had a rudimentary cabin used as a space for living and for making dairy products. There were also one or more barns where the animals took shelter, a pigsty, and a cellar. Running water was essential, as was the wooden cross, testimony of the deep religiousness of the time. The dates engraved in the lintels of the buildings mark dates of construction or improvements.
The alpine pastures were rented every three to six years through public auction. The terms of the contract regulated in great detail the rights and obligations of the renter.