Once upon a time there was the charcoal burner
Experience: the festival of the charcoal burners in the Cansiglio Forest
This profession has now disappeared, but for centuries it was a practice assiduously undertaken by the people of the Treviso foothills, especially in the area at the foot of the Cansiglio plateau. In olden days, the charcoal burner’s job was one of the hardest there was and required great sacrifice, with entire families being forced to move literally into the woods where they lived and work together from March until November. In the early eighties in the locality of Lamar in the Forest of Cansiglio, a group of former charcoal burners from Villa di Villa rebuilt a working replica of a charcoal-burning site, to inform future generations about this ancient craft. The reconstruction includes the main symbol of their work, the Pojat, or traditional heaps of wood, leaves and land necessary for the production of charcoal.
In order to maintain their ties with these places steeped in tradition, every year during the second and third weekends of July, the Pro Belvedere association of Villa di Villa organises the Festa dei Carbonai (Festival of the charcoal burners) on the Pojat site in Lamar (always open to visitors), and this year it will be held on 7-8 and 14-15 July. There will be the opportunity for visitors to step back in time to an age that was very different from our own, and enjoy local specialties, from grilled meats to the famous frico, a cheese and potato delicacy, or stroll through the verdant coolness of the Cansiglio woods. A tip to reach the “Pojat” on foot is to follow the Sentiero del Patriarca (Path of the Patriarch), an itinerary that starts outside the town of Villa di Villa, at the Strada del Faidel, (Road of the Faidel) and allows you to see the ruins of the Castle of Cordignano, called Castelat.
FESTIVAL OF THE CHARCOAL-BURNER
7-8 and 14-15 July
Località Lamar, Cansiglio
Info: Pro Belvedere, 331 1335636 – www.probelvedere.it
[This article was originally published in the Visit Conegliano Valdobbiadene magazine, issue Spring Summer 2018. The magazine is available here]