One of the things that makes a stroll in the cool of a summer’s even in Puglia so special are sightings of the dry stone buildings you see in the fields like the one above. Pagghiare.
Many years ago, while on an archaeological survey of the Salento, Martha met one of the builders of these bits of vernacular architecture. He was in his 70s, and claimed to never have consumed as much as a drop of water in his entire life. He ran strictly on wine. All day.
It took him but a week to build a pagghiara. By himself.
A pagghiara probably stored a farmer’s tools. Maybe there was room for him inside to sack out in the heat of the day. It was an efficient method of using up the rocks in the farmer’s fields.
So why are these buildings slowly (some may say romantically) fading into ruin? Have we lost a bit of the past?
Silvestro Silvestori runs The Awaiting Table cooking school. As someone “pathologically Pugliese” he doesn’t just sit in the kitchen testing recipes gleaned from the country folks around him. He thinks (deeply) about where food comes from and how civilization has changed it—and how it changed civilization (which makes him, I suppose, anthropologically Pugliese as well). Then he makes these incredibly stylish, informative, gorgeous, intelligently narrated videos about his corner of Puglia, the Salento.
Silvestro has a well-formulated theory that brings together the Salento’s iconic green chicory, pagghiare, cultivation and the Ape (those little moto-trucks, not our closest ancestor). It’s a brilliant stew.
There are more of these videos linked here