The island of Pantelleria, in the south-west of Sicily, has a very special climate, in which human ingenuity has adapted its influence on the landscape. The island is characterised by special houses called dammusi, which are complemented by gardens, called jardini, designed to house fruit trees in a real enclosure to protect them from wind and drought. Terraces have been built, in order to cultivate the steep terrain, supported by drywalls of lava stone. In this landscape, wine-growers practise what could be called heroic viticulture, with grapevines cultivated using the low-bush system.

The cultivation of low bushes is well suited to the climate and soil of the Mediterranean island: the aridity of the soil, the drought and the impervious terrain create ideal conditions for this type of cultivation. This system of cultivation requires each plant to be placed in a pit, created by a process called lenzatura, to protect it from the wind and ensure it has sufficient moisture. The pit is constantly monitored and rearranged to keep it in the best possible condition. The vines require frequent pruning, called pizzicature, to maintain the characteristic shape with only six branches, which allows the vine to enjoy excellent exposure. The yield of Pantelleria’s wine production is very low, but the final product is an excellence of the world, with its greatest exponent in the Passito di Pantelleria, which has obtained the DOC denomination and is therefore regulated by a specific standard. The grapes, especially the white Zibibbo, also called Moscato d’Alessandria, are also used as fresh and dried fruit.

For centuries, local vine-growers have passed on the methods of caring for vine plants through oral tradition, often expressed in the local dialect. All the island’s inhabitants share this collective knowledge, as keepers of the vine-growing heritage. The grape harvest involves men and women of all ages who, from July to September, participate not only in an agricultural activity but also in a social moment of great importance. The harvest is a time for sharing experiences, working together and strengthening community relationships. It is a moment of great importance that brings the community together and underlines the importance of viticulture in the life of the island.



Ambrosio G., Carrara R., Saija R., Prodotti alimentari di qualità. Regole, casi e questioni, CEDAM, Ancona, 2022
AA.VV., Il vino in Italia, Associazione Italiana Sommelier, Milano, 2016
Parco nazionale pantelleria - La pratica agricola della vite ad alberello Patrimonio Unesco (last visited 29/06/2023)
Parco Nazionale Pantelleria - Il giardino pantesco (last visited 29/06/2023)
Parco Nazionale Pantelleria - Terrazzamenti (last visited 29/06/2023)
REI - Libro dei saperi - Coltivazione della vite ad alberello (last visited 29/06/2023)
Unesco Video&Sound Collection - Traditional Agricultural Practice of Cultivating the ‘Vite ad Alberello’ of the Community of Pantelleria (last visited 29/06/2023)
TreccaniChannel - Patrimoni dell’UNESCO - La vite ad alberello di Pantelleria disponibile al link (last visited 29/06/2023)
Inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity UNESCO since 2014 (9.COM) - Traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the ‘vite ad alberello’ (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria