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The Chronicle of the Horse

Vol. 2, No. 4

WINTER 2014

The Free Spirit
of Foxhunting
REVISITING

WINTER PLACE
FARM
riding with the Butteri

Tuscany’s
Legendary
Cowboys
holiday
gift
guide
A supplement to The Chronicle of the Horse

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Untacked
The C hronicle of the Horse

Photo Courtesy Of TITO BUSTILLO MUSEUM

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The Annie Oakley Of Foxhunting
The Camelot Of The Show World
The Man Behind The Curtain: Alan Davies
The Way Of The Butteri
10,000 Years Of Horses

On the cover: Gretchen Pelham Photo

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ELENA LUSENTI photo

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GRETCHEN PELHAM PHOTO

V o l . 2 , n o . 4 W i n t e r 2 0 1 4

photo feature

Butteri, the Italian
cowboys who work
the country’s rare
Maremmana cattle,
have passed their riding
and herding skills down
through the generations
for centuries.

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The Way Of The

Butteri

These Italian cowboys have
galloped across Tuscany for
centuries, and while their way
of life and the rare cattle
they tend are threatened
by modern progress,
a determined few are
keeping the culture alive.
Photos by ELENA LUSENTI

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Photo Feature
Daily life for a buttero revolves
around the rounding up and tending of large herds of cows, the
vacche maremmane, on horseback. The entire Maremma region
was once covered in marshes and
swamps that stretched all the way to
the Mediterranean Sea, but after it was
drained during Italy’s Fascist era, these
swamplands are much fewer and farther
between.

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The branding of cattle is a process of pride
and celebration for the butteri and the farms they
work for, showcasing the beauty of their livestock
and the cowboys’ skill.

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Photo Feature

A Maremmano bull seems to
have found a formidable opponent
in a buttero’s tiny terrier.

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The Maremmana cattle breed is distinguished by
beautiful but imposing lyre-shaped horns. While this
beef breed isn’t officially an endangered species, they’re still
quite rare, with a population hovering around 10,000 in the
marshy Maremma region of Tuscany.

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Photo Feature

Azienda Agricola Alberese is the largest, most authentic working farm in Alberese, Tuscany, and the largest
employer of the few remaining working butteri. This is a glimpse into their beautiful, traditional tack room.

Ancient traditions are alive in every
aspect of the buttero’s life, including the
military-style tack that’s gone largely unchanged
since the 15th century.

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Stefano Senserini serves as the president of the Associazione
Butteri Alta Maremma. The group organizes regular exhibitions of the
butteri’s skills to keep traditions alive, teach younger generations how to be a
buttero, and educate tourists in the local ways.

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Photo Feature

This is typical scenery in
Azienda Agricola Alberese,
where you can spend a day
working alongside the butteri,
starting at sunrise by helping them
tend to and move herds of cows
throughout the large and stunning
farm. Agritourism is gaining steam in
the region, and rental apartments or
houses are available in the old Villa
Granducale or in the surrounding
Maremma Regional Park.
A buttero shows off his equine
partner’s skills.

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The butteri only ride Maremmano horses,
a breed which is typically hardy, athletic and dark
bay in color.

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Photo Feature

G et I n v o lv e d

elena lusenti will be leading a
photography tour in Maremma in
late May 2015 (exact dates still to be
determined). You can find out more
about the excursion and contact her
directly via her website,
elenalusenti.com.

Lear n M o r e

Want to visit the butteri of Tuscany
on your own? These organizations
can help you plan your adventure.

• azienda agricola
alberese offers “A Day with the

Buttero” on horseback for riders and
local accommodations. Learn more
at alberese.com.

• daniele contarino and
catia liverani organize one-day

and multi-day tours in some of the
area’s most scenic spots. They can
also organize accommodations in
both historic residences and modern
suites on their beautiful home farm.
Check out their options at tuscany
horsetrail.com.

• the associazione butteri
alta maremma puts on weekend
demonstrations in Northern
Maremma for the public. Find
their schedule at
butteri-altamaremma.com.

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The butteri live and work in one of the most
unspoiled and authentic pockets of Tuscany,
Maremma, in the southwest corner of the region.

Butteri usually devote their entire lives to their work
and consider it a passion and a calling.

A scene from a private farm that
breeds Maremmano horses as
well as donkeys and cattle.
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