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A buttero is a shepherd or cowboy in the region of Maremma, in Tuscany in the Northern Latium and in the Pontine Marshes.
The buttero habitually rides the horse typical of the Maremma, a Maremmano, and tends livestock, especially cattle (such as the native Maremmana breed) and sheep. The characteristic saddle is called a bardella. The buttero's attire consists of coarse cotton pants, leggings, a velvet jacket and a black hat. He protects himself from the rain with a large mantle called the "pastràno". He carries the "mazzarella", a stick employed for herding oxen and horses
The life of the buttero of other times was not to be envied from a qualitative point of view: the hard job in the marshes of the Maremma began before dawn, with rounding up the herds on horseback. They would take a unique meal before midday:
We made loaf with bread and chicory accompanied (but not always) from a piece of ventresca or budellone. We picked up tomatoes, chicory, potatoes and ferlenghi for the acquacotta. At dusk, after the return to the barn, the only comfort was the rapazzola , a rudimentary bed, close to the beasts. The town was sometimes visited, for the inn, to warm up themselves with the wine of the wine cellar, to discuss livestock and to tune up a song "a braccio".
Buffalo Bill and the Butteri
In 1890, Buffalo Bill took his Wild West show to Rome and northern Italy (during his tour of Europe) to display cowboy skills, such as the capture of young cattle and the taming of wild horses. Unimpressed, the Italian cowboys (the butteri) challenged Buffalo Bill and his show to a contest of skill. As the story is told, the butteri proved far more experienced than the Buffalo Bill troupe and the national moment of glory for the butteri was savored for many years.
"Driving wild cattle in the Maremma", illustration from The Penny Magazine, 1832
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