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The Trabocchi Coast

"Colossal spiders" was the definition provided by poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, whose imagination provided these constructions with souls: "... The machine, that seemed to live on its own harmony, felt and looked as though it had a body, a soul... ".

Similar to huge spiders rooted in the sea, they have been for centuries the fishing huts of  inland farmers unaccustomed to sailing, and they now enjoy a new lease of life as friendly and welcoming attractions for visitors.

The Trabocchi are fishing machines dotting the Adriatic coast along the Abruzzo region for 44 km from Ortona to Vasto. A tangle of cables, wood and iron; stilts that to this very date perform their original function: fishing. The system is very easy: a wooden gangway, a level surface made of boards, a hoist and the spokes used to let down the nets. But at a first glance it is immediately evident that this spider has a very special genetic background, that there is much more to it than the nets and poles thrust in the sea. The history of these machines is lost in the mists of time and what did get to us is a mixture of truth and legend still veiled by mystery. The name, to start with: there are many hypotheses concerning its origin: could "trabocco" recall the word "trabocchetto", trap, or the fact that the poles are driven "tra i buchi", between the holes? Most likely, the name is linked to the men who built them, farmers wanting to conquer the sea; the hoist in its mechanism is remindful of the stone mill, the contraption ("trabiccolo") used to crush olives.

 

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