“The large fishing device, made of intertwined trunks, planks and hawsers, gleamed like a huge white skeleton of an antediluvian amphibious being… it looked as if it had a life of its own, feelings and an appearance of a living being.” ~Gabriele D’Annunzio, Trionfo della Morte.
Trabocchi are a familiar feature all along the Adriatic coast, especially in the area from Ortona to San Salvo. Appetibilis asked architect and art history connoisseur Emiliano Fioriti for a brief historical outline of the trabocco as an architectural feature.
The trabocco is a structure made of Aleppo pine, that can be found on the mid-Adriatic coastal areas. Its wood can be easily shaped and it is salt-resistant and flexible so that it can endure the strong northwest wind gusts blowing on the Adriatic Sea.
Its structure consists of a platform facing the sea and it is secured to the rocky shore by means of wooden trunks. From these trunks, a few meters from the water, two or more long arms, – antennae – stretch out. They hold a huge thick net: the “bilancia” (i.e. Chinese fishing net).
The first recordings of trabocchi date back to 1627, but some proofs of their presence go back to the Middle Ages, in “Vita Sanctissimi Petri Celestini”.
Soon after World War II the trabocchi were neglected, perhaps because of the transition from agricultural to industrial economy, but now they are experiencing a sort of revival as restaurants and points of interest along the coast between Ortona and Vasto.