The Tagghjate

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The tagghjate

In all our cities and in all our countries there are sites where our old women our ancestors carried out their activity, sometimes with enormous effort, to find a living, in conditions closer to slavery than to a dignified work.

Typical of these sites are the quarries for the extraction of building material, which was carried out with the sole force of the arms, by means of primitive tools, as machines for digging, cutting and smoothing even large blocks have not yet been invented.

Tagghjate: night view (Note 1)

Until a few years ago the old abandoned quarries were ... re-evaluated as public landfills, with all the easily imaginable consequences as regards the pollution of the subsoil, in particular of the groundwater, but the most serious crime is the abandonment of sites that should represent the pride of the populations of many countries, in order not to lose the memory of those who, with skill and many sacrifices, have been able to enhance the territory and create an economic base, to the advantage of the generations that have followed them.

Who knows how many lives and how many invalids is the price they paid! We try to show our gratitude by transforming those sites into dignified memorial parks where citizens can spend a few hours of serenity.

Among those initiatives underway, we are pleased to report to our readers what has been done since Municipality of S.GiorgioJonico, a few kilometers from Taranto, to enhance a large area in its time used as quarries of "yellow tuff", a material consisting of calcarenites, with which the houses of the neighboring countries were built, locally known with the dialectal name "LE TAGGHJATE".

Tagghjate: Ntàcche
(Note 2)

Tagghjate - Cave 1950
(internal panoramic view from below)
Note 3

It is a site that has particularly impressed us, not only for how and how much it was built, but for the vastness of the area it is planning to enhance to also make it an archaeological and naturalistic park, recovering widespread prehistoric, artistic and exemplary finds from the public. botanical and fauna, connecting the various sites with itineraries, along which it will be possible, through detailed and accurate illustrations, to relive the past and identify with the present.

But another interesting aspect of the Tagghiate is the natural predisposition to set up shows and cultural events, both day and night.

For years, the representation of the Mysteries of the Passion has been held in a suggestive nocturnal atmosphere, which winds between the walls and stairways of the quarry, as if to evoke the sacrifices and passion of those who have lavished their energies and their lives there.

How tiring the work must be is easily imaginable. It is enough just to see how the diggers had to descend and climb up and down the steep walls, after having made small niches in the tuff, using only the physical strength of the arms and legs.

Climbing the steep walls, often with bad weather conditions, after a long and exhausting day of work, had to make the bread they had managed to earn even more bitter and hard.

"Following the recovery and redevelopment interventions carried out by the Municipality of San Giorgio Jonico in collaboration with the GAL CSAJ srl (Local Action Group Consortium for the Development of the Ionian Arch) and thanks to the funding provided by the European Community, as part of the Leader project II, the first phase of the "Tagghjate" was built, a large abandoned quarry in the open air of calcarenite material, used since time immemorial for the construction of buildings.
The extraction was done by hand, with the work of workers called "zuccatori", the quality cut, one by one, the ashlars, which were then transported on the back of a mule.
The stone was cut, proceeding from top to bottom, following the grain of the best material and leaving standing stone spiers, pinnacles and "sails", among which a spontaneous vegetation of the "Mediterranean maquis" grows.
Left to themselves for a long time, the Tagghjate had unfortunately become an illegal landfill site for all types of waste.
The municipal administration intended to recover them by transforming them into a public park and thus returned to the free use of citizens natural spaces rich in charm and colors, which, especially at sunset, are projected on the rocky walls in a thousand shades of red, yellow and green on the background of a wonderfully blue sky.
The interventions carried out up to now have concentrated on the reclamation of the area and in the arrangement of the bottom (leveling of holes and disconnections); in the arrangement of gazebos in the widest spaces, delimiting and securing paths for pedestrians and a track for mountain bikes.
The affixing of signs and wooden lecterns with captions illustrating the flora and the characteristics of the places, will complete the itineraries, enriching them with cultural and educational information.
Anyone interested in having more information can contact the Municipality of San Giorgio Jonico directly (Tel. 099-5915111- Fax 099-5915258), being able to request the photo album with 70 photos "Le Tagghjate" made by Ciro Nigro.
The Mayor of San Giorgio Jonico
Avv. Danilo Leo "

The project of the Municipality of S. Giorgio Jonico, once completed, foresees to equip itineraries that, crossing the entire area, facilitate the movements of tourists and that allow them to visit places of archaeological, historical, social interest, woods and parks with reserves, taking advantage of the rest and refreshment areas, such as those present at the entrance to the Tagghjate.

The Tagghjate di S.Giorgio Jonico project is part of a much broader cultural-tourist program envisaged by the Consortium of the GAL C.S.A.J.T., which embraces the municipalities of Palagiano and Massafra.

Dig inside the rock, following the strands of tuff of the best quality, where once the shallow sea dominated, to create caves, exploiting the experience and intuition of man.

April 2007

Dr. Pio Petrocchi

1) Posthumous integration by the editorial staff of Elicriso
2) «Parallel quadrangular holes, ergonomically cadenced, to help any climbing work on the bare and steep tuff walls». Posthumous integration by prof. G.nni Carafa
3) Posthumous integration by prof. G.nni Carafa

If you want to be updated and learn more about the tags, please also read the articles:

  • Proposal for a project for the tourist, cultural and environmental enhancement of the tagghjate

  • Metamorphosis of the imaginary of the ruins from the Tagghjate park to the Belvedere area

  • Application for adoption of the tagghjate project

Video: The Middle 7x07 Promo Homecoming II: The Tailgate HD

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