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THE VILLAGE - sabato 20 aprile 2024 

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The economy

The village’s economy

In the thirties and fourties the main sustenance’s activities were the agricultural and the forest one:
The forest. The forest was one of the main resource. Every around 20 years it was cut and, with the dejected trees, was derived the coal, which was swapped with the wheat, maize or fruit provided by the farmers of the Versilia’s lowland. The carriage was done by the farmers on their shoulders, because in Sant’Anna there weren’t the mules.

The chestnut’s woods. The chestnut’s woods were another fundamental resource. The chestnut’s flour, with the milk and its by-products, was the most used food in the village. The care of the forest, the crop of the chestnuts, the "metati" (shelters for the drying of the chestnuts), the selection of the dry chestnuts and, finally, the grinding and the rapping of the chestnut’s flour, were the main activities that engaged the families during the time going from September to December.

The tillages. In Sant’ Anna some of everything was cultivated, even if, the seasons conditioned the crop. The potatoes, the beans, the "pastinocelli" (typical native carrot), varied vegetables, but also the wheat, the maize, the rye, the bowline and the hemp were the principal products.

The livestock. Every family, according to the number of its member and to the wideness of the piece of ground in its ownership, had a cow, some sheeps and the pig, besides the courtyard animals. The cow was the mainly wealth, because it provided the milk for the family’s nourishment, and from which was derived the butter to swap with other Versilian’s farmers; beside, the cow provided the calf, which was grown fat to be sold to the versilians butchers; the gain was used to buy the consumer goods locally unavailable. The pig was the supplying for the following year. Also the sheeps were another important resources, because they provided the cheese, the lamb and the wool, which was worked to manufactured the sock, the sweaters, the undershirts and also the blankets.

The furnaces. In the territory of Sant’Anna there are many archaeological ruins, referring to a peculiar handicraft activity: the manufacture of the mortar. The hardness of the conveyance, done on the shoulders caused, since 1500, the autochtonous production of the mortar. The abundance of the wood and the proximity of the stone mine allowed, since 1500 to the end of the fourties of ’900, to produce, locally, the necessary mortar to build the houses and to reconstruct the ones destroyed by the Nazis on the 12th of August of 1944. It was an employment taking a lot of manpower. The worker were engaged to extract the stone and, subsequently, to prepare the klin and to supply the fuel (which consist of brushwoods prepared previously by the women) uninterruptedly during about ten days. When the baking of the stone was completed, and after a long time of cooling, the mortar was, finally, extracted and preserving in special pits covered by water.

At the end of the thirties, in the area of Sant’Anna, the ancient iron mines was reopened; so, the men started again to work in the mines like did their ancestors. The origins of the mining activity, which was one of the more importants in the Versilian’s area, goes back to the Etruscan’s age. The mineral extracted in this area were: mixed sulphur as pyrites, pyrites cuprifera and silver galena, iron ore as limonite, magnetite and ematite and sulfate of barium. The work in the mines was hard and dangerous and it was distributed around 24 hours; subsequently, it increased the usual work in the fields and in the woods. Nevertheless, a little more money started to circulate so that increase the welfare of the families.

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