A trabocco is an old fishing machine. It’s common along the Southeastern coast of Italy, namely in Abruzzo and Puglia.
A platform jutting out into the sea and anchored to the coastline by massive logs. From the platform hang out nets and all the structures needed to sustain them.
The Italian writer Gabriele D’ Annunzio, who lived nearby, wrote some strong descriptions of trabocchi in his book The Triumph of Death.
The story of trabocchi
Once, until the last century, the nets were plunged into the water to catch fish.
Those were the times when the seas were a source of life and richness for many.
But today those times are away.
Overfishing has eroded the basis of marine life and the fishing industry has engulfed itself. Today the harsh life of fishermen hardly provide sustainment, don’t even think of richness!
Trabocchi were a complex and fragile structure. They needed a lot of maintenance works, a lot of physical work and some money. When the daily catch wasn’t anymore enough to cover the total needed commitment they were eventually abandoned and left prone to the agents: wind, rain, waves.
The carelessness of humans makes maybe more damages than the weather. About 20 years ago most part of the trabocchi along the coast of Abruzzo was at risk of collapsing. Some of them actually collapsed. One of the collapsed ones was the Trabocco del Turchino. Unfortunately, it was exactly the one described by D’ Annunzio.
At that point, somebody had a bright idea.
Now, think of a medium-sized ship about to sail. You sit on the main bridge for dinner, overlooking the purple and blue horizon and the dark sea below you.
Just don’t look back, and you won’t see the footbridge connecting the wooden structure to the mainland. This way your dream can remain intact for the whole evening!
A gentle breeze on your face, birds singing and waves murmuring: what a scenery!
And if in this paradisiac setting you are also able (as you are) to enjoy a fine dinner, we’re very very close to perfection!
A new life
Here comes the great idea. Somebody started to use the otherwise useless trabocco he inherited from the father or grandfather as a scenic dining room to accommodate family and friends. It was a success, the voice of those panoramic dinners spread out and people started to ask to be invited.
The next step was almost spontaneous. Regular restaurants were open, set in trabocchi.
Now, don’t even think that it was an easy task! Trabocchi are tiny structures compared to what is needed for a regular restaurant. There is a small room for tables, a small room for the kitchen, no running water, no electricity, no services. And the entire structure is made of wood. On this wooden structure, you need to cook with several open flames.
With much work the water pipes were prolonged to the trabocchi, and so were the electrical wires. Soon, I am sure, they will begin to install wind and marine farms to exploit what nature offers, not only from a gastronomic point of view.
Not services, for those you still need to walk back to the coast.
And since the tables are few, you’d better reserve well in advance, especially in summer.
But if you get the chance to have a seat at one of those almost-floating restaurants, be ready to savour a typical and tasty cuisine. The main ingredient is seafood, of course, but you’ll also enjoy pasta and different vegetables and legumes, typical products of the countryside around you.
And good wine of course!
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