On Italy’s steep Amalfi Coast, ‘flying’ lemon farmers jump among the treetops

Above the green hills of the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, an agile farmer leaps across terraced lemon groves overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Balancing between one wooden pole and another, the not-so-young acrobat defies gravity, bending to pick lemons and transport them in crates weighing more than 25 kilograms (55 pounds) between vertical gardens more than 400 meters (1,312 feet) above the ground.

The sound of waves below masks the hum of car traffic and noise from tourists in the main square of the UNESCO-protected town of Amalfi.

“Not blood, but lemon juice runs through my veins,” says 87-year-old farmer Gigino Aceto, whose family has been growing lemons here since the 1800s.

About 2,000 metric tonnes are currently harvested each year around the Amalfi Coast, according to local figures, but surveys show that these lemon grove areas have been in decline for the past 60 years.

“In Amalfi alone, lemon terraces have decreased from 72 hectares to 48 between 1954 and 2015, while wild forests and urbanization advanced considerably,” says Giorgia De Pasquale, an architect and researcher at Roma Tre University, who is looking for ways to preserve family lemon-growing businesses.

De Pasquale has been working to get an “Important Agricultural Heritage System”

it is rich in vitamins C, B, E, potassium and magnesium — the inhabitants of the coast have found myriad uses, from cleaning clothes to natural medicine.

Brought here in the early Middle Ages during trade with the Arabs, the lemons were once used by sailors, especially in Northern Europe, to fight scurvy. They also played a role in the fight against cholera in Naples in the 1950s.

But it’s not only nutritional and pharmacological properties that made the Sfusati so fundamental to the area. The traditional agricultural system has proven resilient to climate change instability.

Poles of local chestnut wood are used to create a scaffold around the lemon trees stand and allow the “flying farmers” — as they’ve been called by Italian writer Flavia Amabile — to walk over the trees for pruning, harvesting and maintenance.

Nevertheless, Salvatore says, the farmers are fighting a constant battle against man-made problems, not least scorching temperatures blamed on climate change.

“With the frequent fires over summer, it’s a disaster,” he says.


I will translate it into Arabic, but if you translate it “your summary”

  • What are the problems and challenges you will face while translating the text? (Not limited)