Still visible in aerial photographs taken by the Royal Air Force in 1944, the plantations of the Po Valley were a significant feature of the Bolognese countryside for centuries. Using a system of mixed cultivation, long narrow camps of crops alternated with rows of vines supported by trees used as stakes.
In ancient times, the stakes were arbustum gallicum, spread throughout the plains by the Romans, who had learnt this plantation method from the Gauls, although it was already practiced by the Etruscans.
In modern times, this system proved particularly adaptable to the requirements of sharecropping agriculture, since apart from the specialized industrial cultivation, (hemp and silk), the land had to supply each farm with enough produce to sustain the large families farming there.
The stakes at the time were elms and maples, as well as willows and mulberries - the typical trees of the plains.
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Last update: 06-09-2019