Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
There is a special tour which searches for swallows nests with an exceptional guide: the president of the “Legambiente Chianti ﬁorentino”, Ivano Inghilesi.
The tourists who come to admire the beauty of Greve in Chianti from March to September/October can see an extraordinary spectacle towards evening when tens of sparrows joyously ﬂy under one of the long porticos of the main piazza.
Some of them have chosen to built their nests here for the period of reproductin, which goes more or less from March to October.
All you have to do is keep your eyes in the air in order to discover which places hide the nests of these migratory birds. From the piazza of Greve to the village, where the tenants of a condominium host a nest, continuing to the town cemetery.
How do you explain the presence of the swallows nests in town?
“Greve is home to many swallow nests, thanks to intense agricultural development, the massive use of pesticides and anti-parasitics and the restructuring of rural buildings like stables and pig pens. These are constantly growing more towards urban areas. Unfortunately, according to a study of BirdLife International, there has been a decrease in 40% of the swallow population. This is a worrisome trend, which has led the ‘Rondine Rossiccia’, who nests in Italy, to be added to the list of animals in extinction”.
What can we do?
“The swallows pass on their nests. Their descendants usually occupy the nest of their parents or build one next to it. It is therefore fundamental to respect the nests, or move them and more importantly, not destroy them”.
What does the law say?
“There are European directives which insert the swallows among protected species. Italian laws reserve monetary sanctions to those who destroy nests and eggs of protected animal species as well as prison for whom causes the death of an animal without reason. Added to this is the ordinance n. 25 Salvarondini promoted by the township of Greve in Chianti in 2010. In addition to these rules, it is good to remember that swallows are a precious resource for the environment and a big help to us”.
“They are natural insecticides. They contribute to the reduction of mosquitos, ﬂies, etc. Scientiﬁc studies show that a couple of swallows can capture up to 20,000 insects a day during the reproductive season. It is fundamental to learn to live with them”.
“These are extraordinary animals who don’t do any harm. Those who complain about excrement should put cardboard under the nests or, if the nests are under gutters, they can cover the shutters with plastic that they can change periodically. Here in Greve there is much respect for these animals”.
Our tour concludes at the Passo dei Pecorai, at restaurant “da Omero”. The owner, Luca, meets us and shows us the 52 swallow nests that he hosts and tells us about on his site related to his tourist structure.
“The swallows protect us from mosquitos until they leave at the end of August,” he tells us and he recounts some funny anecdotes: “The most beautiful moments are the morning when the swallows wake up and all ﬂutter altogether and the evening when they return. Each one ﬂies from one nest to the other to say good night before going to sleep”.