Only a few people know that before becoming famous for the earthquake of 1968, the Belìce Valley was a very active laboratory where practices of civil fighting and social participation were invented. For this reason, it was famous among all European social avant-garde movements already in the late 1950s. The peoples of the Belìce area found a way to fight against Mafia and large land-estate owners by asking to the State for dams and basic infrastructures to guarantee their survival, at a time when illiteracy was the rule and electricity was a privilege in Sicily.
After the earthquake, social claims and people’s fighting mixed with reconstruction, illicit activities and urban planning experiments, artistic utopias and political corruption. It is a very intense and enchanting story that will help the new generations (and not only) to re-discover a great lesson of democracy and non violence coming from the people (and in particular the peasants) of this part of Sicily.
The project Le Terre che Tremarono (‘The lands that trembled– the culture of hospitability and development of sustainable tourism in the Belìce Valley”) is rooted in that same story. It is a complex project aimed at developing sustainable and community tourism in the Belìce Valley by involving local communities during the planning and welcoming stages.
The involvement of local populations was a precondition and tenet of the project. Community tourism requires the establishment of a hospitable community that is capable of accepting and meeting the needs of travellers who want to experience diversity and genuine feelings, and exchange ideas and culture. A community like that can only exist if it is deeply rooted ino and fully aware of its identity and history, if it has stories to tell.
Over two years of activities carried out in fifteen Municipalities of the Valley (Santa Ninfa, Poggioreale, Salaparuta, Roccamena, Santa Margherita Belice, Sambuca di Sicilia, Menfi, Montevago, Gibellina, Salemi, Partanna, Vita, Camporeale, Contessa Entellina, Calatafimi and Segesta), we have met people and discovered places, collected stories, created works of art and objects.