Terre di Sacra: the history of the territory
The motive that, in 1922, caused a group of friends and entrepreneurs to acquire the property stretching from the Castle of Capalbio to the sea and establish Terre di Sacra was: “redeem the land” in order to produce new resources. This profound motive became a part of the company’s name: Società Anonima Capalbio Redenta Agricola (S.A.C.R.A. – Capalbio Redeemed Farmland Public Limited Company).
“Redeemed”: such word perfectly expressed the mission to redeem the district surrounding Lake of Burano. The territory was inhospitable and marshy. A modern drainage of the marshes was carried out and malaria hotbeds were eradicated.
Terre di Sacra’s founders were more pioneers than capital investors looking for easy profits. The purpose of establishing the estate in 1922 was managing the properties in Capalbio in different sectors of agriculture: cereal farming, stock farming, coal production and lake fishing. A 9000-hectare territory, whose first land reclamation dates back to 1861.
A profound transformation
Besides the water drainage project, Terre di Sacra developed a project of agricultural and land transformation. The Land Reform in Italy aimed at transforming cultivation from extensive into intensive. Another aim was creating industry-oriented plantations such as olive groves, poplar plantations and pine groves and also to enhance the raising of Maremma’s breeds.
It was not by chance that in 1930 the estate had already become official supplier of military horses destined to the Army and in the service of the Italian Royal Family.
Terre di Sacra experienced the II World War as a protagonist, partly because of the possibility that the Burano area could be destined to peat extraction and partly for a series of war events. The most serious of such events was the flooding of the Burano area caused by the German army that closed the drainage ditch of river Chiarone by breaking its controls and causing major damages to the estate.
1950 was the year of the Great Land Reform that irrevocably altered the appearance of Terre di Sacra. The Reform aimed at favoring small and medium landowners by expropriating properties from large landowners. During these years, Terre di Sacra changed its appearance deeply.
From hunters to nature defenders
Ending the era of hunting for good at Burano has been for Terre di Sacra a moral choice.
Despite the economic losses caused by the lack of income deriving from hunting activities, Terre di Sacra’s owners forbid hunters and fishermen to cross its land.
Negotiations carried out with WWF representatives Arturo Osio and Fulco Pratesi develop rapidly with the rental of about 150 hectares of Lake of Burano in order to establish an Oasis for non-migratory and migratory fauna, within which hunting is absolutely forbidden.
On June, 30th 1968 the WWF Nature Reserve of Lake of Burano was established, the first one in Italy.
From the very beginning, the Oasis’s purpose has been to protect the arrival and permanence of these guests, which come from far away and are gradually endangered, for a common benefit of the wildlife and mankind.
The Oasis has acted as a spokesperson for a universal message that urges us all not to exploit the environment we live and work in but being its responsible defenders instead.
Not the owners of Nature anymore but its protectors.
From the Estate in Capalbio to the farm in Burano
The history of Terre di Sacra is made of land reclaimed from the marshes by drainage work and of its workers’ economic and social achievements.
It’s the acknowledgement of the worker’s rights and the passage from being laborers to farmers.
It’s the building of canals and wellheads but also roads and electricity supply lines. Of houses, farmhouses and schools.
It’s a story of livestock and wheat, of tradition and innovation.
It’s a story of war and reconstruction. Of painful expropriation – as a consequence of the Land Reform – but also of the determination to pursuit one’s own values in the remaining land.