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An Ancient Bungartz in Puglia

■ 29 June 2012 by James Martin

bungartz tractor pictureYou know what I like? Old folks sitting on benches, yammering on and on. You can learn a lot from them. History is important in most of the world.

So it may not surprise you that I also like it when someone who works the land and is really attached to the roots of a place puts his old tractor proudly in front of his shop, like that old Bungartz over there on the right.

The tractor belongs to the Azienda Agricola Taurino, which is located in the Salento near Lecce in a town called Squinzano. The owner, Donato, is the guy in the left of the picture with his back to the camera. He’s got a great operation you should visit if you’re in the area. You can walk the olive grove where his fantastic oils come from. You can even have lunch on a restaurant on the property.

But back to the tractor. I’m not particularly a fan of tractors. But sometimes you take a picture of something and then you try to learn more about it and whammo, you’re sucked into a vortex of historical information you may never emerge from.

The Bungartz has quite a history. It made tractors and things through the war years. As a small company with clever owners it could weather most anything, bending like canes in the wind to overcome the turbulence of change. As agriculture changed, so did Bungartz.

Bungartz survived everything except the “big ag” revolution. That’s sad. With the independent farmers go the great little companies. Poof!

And I suppose that’s why the Bungartz is proudly displayed in front of the shop. The olive oil is largely handmade, and its goodness comes out of a time many have forgotten, a time when owners like Donato were proud that their olive oil was unadulterated with the sludge of corporate greed.

So download our app and get to Puglia soon. It will all go away some day. Like the Bungartz, whose history is written lovingly here.

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An Ancient Bungartz in Puglia originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com Jun 29, 2012, © James Martin.

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