The Buttero is by definition the shepherd on horseback typical of the Maremma. In the past, the buttero, riding his Maremma horse, obviously faced the hostile and wild nature. The work took place in the large enclosures surrounded by Maremma nature where they grazed herds of animals that they had to control, count and recover in case of escape. The Maremma was a land without secrets for them, they knew every single corner. The days were long and particularly difficult, but the period of the foals’ birth, suckling and then taming were certainly the hardest.
Today the Butteri are still present in the area, in much smaller numbers, and their work has been greatly improved by technology, but it is still up to them to keep our traditions alive. Every year, events are held that are open to the public to commemorate this beloved figure.
In 2011, the famous American newspaper, the New York Times, dedicated a long front-page article to ‘Italian cowboys’, ‘Italian Cowboys Refuse to Ride Off Into History’, this is the title of the article that brought the Maremma tradition overseas. It describes the feat of Augusto Imperiali, the only man able to tame a wild Buffalo Bill horse. It happened in 1890 during Buffalo Bill’s Wild East Show in Europe, the American cowboys were challenged by the Duke of Sermoneta to mount his horses, they clearly succeeded, but Buffalo Bill took the opportunity to raise the challenge to the cowboys, one after the other they all fell, only Imperiali managed to stay in the saddle.
The Butteri show is offered several times during the summer season. The show lasts about 2 hours, booking is appreciated.
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