TRAN. Transhumant Livestock Farming in Central Italy

  • Sections: Antiquity, Middle Ages

  • Director: Stéphane Bourdin, professor at University of Lyon 2


Transhumance, traditionally considered as the economic response by pastoral societies to the constraints of their environments, is well known through the texts (Roman laws, Latin authors, medieval charters, modern cadastres and documents on the reinstatement of tratturi), but much less well known for Pre- and Proto-history, for Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages. This programme focuses on two main aspects of transhumance in central Italy, from two study areas, the Tuscan Maremma (Progetto TraTTo - Univ Siena) and inner Abruzzo. In these areas, the great transhumance or displacement from the coastal plains towards the mountain pastures, are well documented for the modern era, but this research will complete the investigation for lesser known periods, that is, Protohistory, the Roman period and the late ancient and early Middle Ages. The research will be based on the historical cartographic and cadastral documentation, for locating the archaeological remains, defining the routes and their articulation with the coastal areas of salt production, and excavating several pastoral sites in Abruzzo. These sites give us information about the exploitation of these areas in Roman and Medieval times and highlight the production of two major commodities in the Mediterranean economy and food production: wool and cheese.

Key words

Transhumant livestock farming; transhumance; tratturo; pastoral economy


  • École française de Rome
  • Université Lyon 2 et laboratoire HiSoMA, UMR 5189 
  • University of Siena
  • University of Chieti-Pescara


In 2018

  • Study of material from fortified sites of the Vestini and Paeligni
  • Preparation of the publication of a monograph on fortified centres and their role in the pastoral economy
  • Survey of transhumance routes in Maremma
  • Study and documentation of pre-Roman, Roman and medieval pastoral structures in the Gran Sasso massif

Outputs and expected results

  • scientific publications and publications for the general public
  • public conferences
  • lectures at conferences and seminars 
  • monograph
  • documentary film (project IDEX JEDI UCA)

Page translated from French, 2020/03/25

European and national Programmes (ERC, ANR)

Laboratoire International Associé (LIA)