The singular fact of the month: Insolita Emilia Romagna

The magazine Courrier International translated an article written by Francesco Dradi from the recently created Italian newspaper Domani, “Assalto ai porcini, il bene comune dei boschi vittima del business”, which goes off the beaten track. This enlightening piece of writing tackles an allegedly unusual dispute over territory in the Apennines mountains, located in the Italian region Emilia Romagna.

As a foreword, you might be surprised but there is an indirect connection between this story and the Balkan region. Francesco Ddradi makes us smarter by letting us know that this pretty fancy Boletus can indeed also be found in Southeast Europe. We can read in Courrier International:

“Porcini mushrooms grow all over Italy and in other European countries, especially in the Balkans. However, connoisseurs say that the best are grown in Emilia, but also in Lunigiana and Garfagnana, in Tuscany. The most remarkable “specimens” are found in the region of Parma, and more particularly in the Taro Valley, with its Fungo di Borgotaro, which boasts the European label of Protected Geographical Indication (IPG).”

It appears the competition to get this costly trophy may be way fiercer than what you could think in the first place. Some individuals are active once the night falls to avoid detection while they are committing their mischief and collect insanely high proportions of mushrooms, possibly attracted by greed. Sometimes, the situation escalates a level further with the use of violence to claim property over a parcel of land.
Also, things were quite different back in the days of old-school mushroom picking. The spots were mostly kept secret, while now the situation has changed significantly with the democratization of satellite phones and GPS. This innovation may turn mushroom picking into a whole different practice.

By taking a step back, we realize we are dealing here with a dilemma that is ongoing in other disciplines as well. Are we willing to privilege good sport in line with certain ethics? Or contrarily, are we ready to disregard these considerations and seek efficiency at all costs? Setting lines might help us to think straight and to better be in line with ourselves. On the one hand, which actions are we ready to take to reach our goals? On the other hand, what don’t we allow ourselves to sacrifice on sacrifice in a logic of profit and productivity?

On my side, I do think innovation is definitely valuable on the one hand. On the other hand, I am also convinced sometimes it should be used more wisely. And you? I leave you with these unanswered questions as an epilog.

Jules Striffler

⦁ Courrier international. 2020. Reportage. Dans Les Montagnes Italiennes, La Guerre Des Champignons Fait Rage. [online] Available at:
⦁ Ddradi, F., 2020. Assalto Ai Porcini, Il Bene Comune Dei Boschi Vittima Del Business. [online] Available at:

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