At least 18 people have died over the past 10 days in rural Italy in the hunt for delicacy mushrooms. That’s right, mushrooms.
The Guardian reports that there has been an “explosion in the number of edible fungi clinging to tree stumps and undergrowths in northern Italy” and that the increase has resulted in a proportional upsurge in the number of mushroom pickers.
While hunting mushrooms might not seem like the most deadly of missions–after all, eating them is where the real danger is, right?–it’s the location that proves to be the problem. The terrain where the mushrooms are growing is marked with steep hills and cliffs and a number of hunters have fallen to their death.
Adding to the danger is the competitive edge that mushroom hunters seek. In efforts to outwit the competition, hunters will go to great lengths to reach the areas with the largest numbers of porcini and chanterelles–including hunting alone at night in rocky, unfamiliar territory.
So while “mushroom hunter” might not have the risk-cache of say, a fire-fighter or a pilot, some “fungaioli” are definitely risking their lives for their work. (via the Guardian)