THE MATERIAL AND THE TERRITORY
"The Casertano black pig is a mystery in itself. In fact, its fragility and the female's weak maternal instinct have led almost to the extinction of the breed, which today has little more than a thousand specimens, mostly found in southern Italy.
I had never seen before such a fascinating animal, with a hairless and silky coat, dark as night, snub-nosed, which from birth develops skin protuberances under the throat whose function is still unknown to many.
I've been searching for this animal. I have been travelling a long way, that has taken me to the upper Biferno valley, to a small town on the high hills that faces the Roccaraso mountains and the Maiella park to the north, the Adriatic Sea to the east, the upper Matese regional park to the west and the Sannio valley to the south.
Here, wandering through the fields and walking among the oak woodpiles, I discovered the dark footprint of the ancient Casertana breed.
And it was right here, in Petrella Tifernina, that I had the chance to meet the man who jealously guards this genetic heritage in its purest form and breeds these pigs with the love that only a father can give to his children: his name is Alessandro.
Alessandro every single day, together with his friend Ibrahim, prepares the right feed ration for them, selecting the best cereals from the Molise region's crops: broad beans and barley are the main ingredients of their diet, with the only addition of dried chestnuts in the final fattening phase.
Straw, gathered during the summer in the fields surrounding the farm, is the perfect partner for their growth: it serves as bedding for the night and as a pastime during the long and cold winter days.
When spring arrives and the sun warms the cold, damp earth of the pasture, it is time to set the animals free to enjoy the immense spaces that surround them. Their freedom is so unexpected that for some of them it almost seems like a dream."