Giuseppe Mantello, Fer ruccio Ramella, Diddio Cerruti. You may not know their names, but their worn faces, their smiles,their long silences that betray familiar ity with solitude, are the testimony of a by now rare, modern-day reality with ancient roots. The three are shepherds of the Biella Valley, in the pre-alpine region along the Piedmone-Valle d'Aosta borde r. In late spring they take their sheep, along with a few donkeys and their dogs, from the plains to the high hills for grazing, making their way along paths that are hundreds of years old. And there they remain with their two or three hundred head of sheep, until late fall. Once a livelihood that was passed down from generation to generation, traditional sheep herding has been hard hit by the ravages of the moder n free market. Indeed, there are few shepherds left, and once they are gone, who will be willing to make the yearly trek from the plains to the hills with their sheep?