On the beautiful Adriatic coastline shared by Molise, Abruzzo and Puglia, lies the “La costa dei Trabucchi’: here large wooden platforms rooted to the rocks jut out into the sea. The arms of the trabucco or trabocco hold a narrow fishing net, il traboccetto. A complicated series of winches is used to lower and raise the net, literally catching the fish as they swim over it. Today some of the winches work electronically, others still turned by the efforts of at least 2 trabuccolanti. Some of these old constructions have been restored into restaurants where fish is cooked literally before your eyes, minutes after being caught.
A bridge of wooden boards allows the fisherman to get out to the platform to haul their catch. Aleppo pine which grows abundantly in the Mediterranean region, extending as far as Morocco, Greece and Turkey, is used to create these solid structures. Not only very abundant, it is tough, weather-poof and resistant to salt. The earliest documented evidence of trabocchi is from the 18th century when Gargano fishermen devised this ingenious method of fishing without having to subject themselves to precarious weather conditions during the harshest months. At that time, up to 100 kilos of fish could be caught in one trabocco daily.
I first discovered the existence of these beautiful structures a few summers ago on a drive up the coast from Vasto to Giulianova to visit friends. They look like giant spiders sprawled out into the shimmering sea. Since then it has been a plan of mine to visit one of these family restaurants for Sunday lunch to sample the fresh, regional dish of brodetto alla Vastese.
One of Live and Learn Italian’s new events this summer will be a visit to the centro storico at Vasto and out to a trabocco for lunch.
by Jenifer @ liveandlearnitalian.com
Courses are booking up in Agnone, so do visit the website for dates. Beginners classes are proving popular this summer, intermediates continue to grow strong.
Practice, refresh and learn Italian @ liveandlearnitalian.com
Discover the traditions of a historic town in Molise, and get to know the locals. Learn Italian where no one speaks English.