Valore storico, culturale e paesaggistico delle “muracche” nel Bosco Ficuzza

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The vast wooded area known as “Bosco Ficuzza” originated when Ferdinando IV Borbone, forced by the tumultuous events in 1798 to escape from Naples, moved to Sicily. The King, being a great hunting enthusiast, established several hunting estates; thus the royal estates of the Favorita in Palermo and that of Ficuzza rose. The King improved the viability to reach Ficuzza, and then those inside the forest. In 1802 he was commissioned to the venetian architect Venazio Marvuglia and then to the architect Carlo Chenchi to build the “Real Casina di Caccia”, where he lived for many years, practicing, among all his favorite leisure activities, hunting and fishing. In Ficuzza, Ferdinando IV worked to constitute one of his largest hunting reserves. Thus the fiefs of Lupo, Ficuzza and Cappelliere were reunited, the boundaries constituted with “muracche”" (stone walls) and “pilieri” (stone stacks) bearing the inscription "R.R.", Reali Riserve (i.e. Royal Reserves), and he imposed restrictive rules to free hunting. Also, the King endowed the forest with a well-distributed road network and he worked to the care of the woods, to repopulate the game species, by bringing out wild boar, fallow deer and deer. Moreover, in various places of the forest, he had it built shelters for the keepers, farms and shelters for livestock, having formed large cattle and sheep farms, drinking troughs and other infrastructures at the service of hunting such as the "The King's pulpit", obtained from a large sandstone boulder where the King used to shoot hares, wild boars and fallow deer that the beaters used to drive out. Another structure worthy of mention is the “fishmonger of the Gorgo del Drago”, a pond fed by a perennial spring where the King, during the hunting rest for the repopulation of the game species, was delighted to fish, guest in the adjacent house, today reduced to a ruin. The muracche had been built with boulders of various dimensions stacked so as to form parallelepipeds with a width of about 1 m, and up to 2 m tall, to form extensive walls along the boundaries of royal hunting estates. They were a kind of fences that served to protect the areas destined to the repopulation of the game species but also the woods, so dear to the King, subjected to silvicultural interventions. In fact, the King at his first visit to Ficuzza, wrote in his logbook “... the woods are wide and rich in game species, but poorly managed and too much exploited”. This is why, as soon as he settled in Ficuzza, the King began to work to recover the degraded and over-exploited forests, protecting them from grazing and from any other danger with the muracche. Along the muracche there were passages delimited by gates, used for the transit of woodcutters and game species. At the top of the muracche there were stone stacks which, in addition to the inscription “R.R.”, had the symbol of the royal crown above it. The meritorious work of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon was decisive in the destination of the "Inalienable National Forest of Ficuzza" as "Climate Station" in accordance with the Law n. 535 of 1901 of the Kingdom of Italy. Of the original muracche today there are only the remains covered by mosses and intrigued in the vegetation. The managing body of the Reserve has restored only a small part of the ancient artifacts for demonstration purposes of the original structural form. The objective of this work is to create an inventory of the current consistency and state of maintenance of the muracche and of all the other infrastructures still existing in order to reconstruct their original deve
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIV Congresso Nazionale di Selvicoltura, Torino 5-9 novembre 2018, Il bosco: bene indispensabile per un presente vivibile e un futuro possibile, Abstract book
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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