“… in ancient times the Cervo valley was covered by a thick forest whose extension was way larger than its orographic borders. It is possible to find unmistakable testimonies, even if sporadic and indirect, of the existence of such forest from the Pre-Romanic Era to the early Middle Ages…the Middle Ages was a period of large transformations for our land. Such phenomenon started in the middle of the Feudal Age and its principal creators were the Benedictin monks from the abbeys of Santa Maria and San Martino della Gallinara. The monks claimed to have undefined spiritual and earthly rights over the local inhabitants of the valley…” [ … ]

“… the prestige granted to our region by such monastic orders is well known and often exaggerated. For instance it is not correct to attribute the transformation of the ligurian agrarian landscape only to their industriousness: a task of such extent would have never been accomplished without the commitment and the centennial effort of the entire population. It is however important to acknowledge that the monks were able to persuade the ligurian population to leave their hamlets in the mountains and move to the valley. While starting to cultivate the devastated and wild lands, the local inhabitants were also given progress expectancy and their foundation values: a strong faith, an indestructible tenacity and determination to face adversities and the day-to-day hard work. Such values remain nowadays our rules of life…” [ … ]

“…the Benedictine monks taught young farmers how to obtain fertile soil from the steep hills: they would build dry-stone walls and fill the space created behind them with soil brought from the valley. Such technique created terraces where farming was finally possible. Furthermore, the monks taught the inhabitants their own farming techniques as well as how to extract olive oil. The Benedictine order was in possession of such knowledge thanks to copied classical manuscripts, scrupulously preserved in isolated monasteries in order to save them from the destruction of barbarian invasions…” [ … ]

“… Traditions in the ligurian Ponente link the Benedictine order with the diffusion of the olive quality called “taggiasca”, which is almost exclusive of the area between Nice and Capo Mele. Its name derives from the locality that became the centre of distribution of the first small plants to be transplanted. As long as the Cervo valley was concerned, it is undeniable that the Benedictine monks represented an enormous driving factor in the evolution of the area towards the 11th Century. There are no direct testimonies of such evolution, however its course is easily deducible by its results, which would openly manifest themselves a couple of Centuries later…” [ … ]

“… The transformation of the local agrarian layout, which saw the olive tree steadily conquering wider spaces and starting to compete with vines for supremacy, was by any means begun…” [ … ]

“… It is finally possible to find testimonies of such evolution in the first half of the 15th Century, in the most ancient known descriptions of the ligurian territory…”

Extracted from italian website: www.cadepuio.it and page: http://www.cadepuio.it/4_paesaggio_e_natura_in_epoca_antica.html (only Italian version)

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