Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1795)
Goethe's words are those of an intellectual who, at the turn of the 19th century, embarked on his own grand tour -- a journey of cultural education -- through some of the most significant places in European history. While during the previous centuries the typical trip to Italy terminated in Rome, from around the middle of the 18th century, the custom of travelling further south -- to Naples, where the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii had aroused enormous interest, and to Sicily -- became more widespread. Goethe's is a journey that crosses Italy from north to south, through a country that is steeped in thousands of years of history, accumulated over long periods of time, right up to the present day.
The history of Italy, as well as its present, is that of a European country that has contributed to the very foundation of the idea of Europe, but whose territory extends almost entirely into the heart of the Mediterranean.
Italy is usually defined as a peninsula, but in actual fact, in addition to the peninsular, the continental part and the islands together make up a country that, despite its relatively small size, is also extremely varied. Hilly areas predominate (41.6%), in a country where, however, mountains account for more than 35% of the land area and plains for 23.2%.
Over the past century, Italy has gone from being a predominantly agricultural country to becoming one of the most industrialised countries in the world. Today, agriculture employs less than 4% of the country's workforce. The population distribution also reveals a territory with a relatively high population density (almost 200 inhabitants per km²), where only 24.5% live in rural areas, while the remaining 75.5% live in large or small and medium-sized towns.
Italy is not only the country where Treedom was founded in 2010, but it is also one of the countries where we plant trees. These projects are relatively modest in terms of numbers, but no less important.
The projects we carry out in Italy respect our philosophy of producing social and environmental benefits, but apply it to a different context than in the other countries where we work. While the environmental benefits are achieved in Italy, as elsewhere, through the planting of new trees, when it comes to the social benefits, a crucial factor is our choice of project partners. These include associations, non-profit organisations and social cooperatives (we don't work with private entities), which, for example, involve disadvantaged groups in their activities or regenerate land confiscated from criminal organizations. The intent is to support projects of great social value.
The projects carried out in Italy over the years have led Treedom to collaborate with organisations working on various fronts. One of the first was with the Beppe Montana Cooperative. Founded in 2010, it was the first Libera Terra cooperative established in the province of Catania and focuses on the social and productive recovery of land freed from the Mafia, with the aim of obtaining high quality produce using methods that respect the environment and human dignity. Almost 7,000 trees have been planted, bringing environmental and social benefits, especially in terms of defending legality and justice.
Other projects have been carried out, such as in Veneto, to help reforest one of the areas hit by Storm Vaia in 2018, and in Basilicata, in the picturesque setting of the "Parco delle Chiese Rupestri" (Park of the Rock Churches) in Matera.
trees planted in Italy
beneficiaries involved in Italy