Search This Blog

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Trip to Italy - last part.

Hey there.

It's about time to wrap this story up, isn't it?
In case you've missed the FIRST and the SECOND part, you can read them by following the links.

Our third day in Italy, we were invited to various places, mostly by folks who live and produce in the area of Park Ticcino. 

1. Cascina Selva

The Sala family lives in the area for tree generations. The grandfather, Giovanni, signed the first contract on the lease in 1947 when he came there with the family. Ever since then, were busy, growing the farm bigger and bigger, having more cattle. 
At one point of their lives they decided to stop the growth and to turn to Organic Farming, and that is the path they are on now.

Cascina Selva, since 2005 has been one of the educational farms accredited by the Lombardy Region and since 2009 it also joins the circuit of Panda Farm sponsored by WWF, that brings together companies in protected areas attentive to the conservation of nature, biodiversity and the efficiency of energy saving.

2. Azienda Agricola Cirenaica

This small farm is focused on production of wheat and pork, and it's all done in a closed cycle.
We had the opportunity to follow up a product, as they say it "from the field to the table"

The gentleman on the right is the owner, Sandro Angelo
he's products were used to make the sausage for the Fair.

Mr. Angelo was kind enough to spare some of his time and to show us around the place. Right there, we were given some of the Delicatessen Salami (amazing taste!).

3. Cascina Caremma

Lunch time came, and we were lucky enough to be taken to a lovely Farm-turned-hotel.
There's a strange sense to it. On one side, it's a spa center, a place that charges 150 EUR for bed & breakfast. And on the other side of the estate, they are growing their own crops. I saw grapes, rise and (yes, indeed) pigs and cows.
(None of this is new to me, since I live in a small town full of farms - but I bet lot of folks from Milan gravitate toward Cascina in order to see this marvelous combination)

Italians have time.
Their lunches last at least for 2 hours. 
It started with finely sliced salami and other dried meat. Also, there were sauces, dippings. And Pâté - I have yet to taste one better that that. Various breads were presented to us: one with walnuts was both chewy and crunchy, later we took some with currants and with poppy-seeds. All were fresh, warm and amazing.
Main dish is not meat (unlike in our country) - it's rice.
Later on, there was tiramisu and we ended our treat with coffee. 

4. Rice - sapori del riso Italiano

The Lombardy region of Italy is famous by it's rise (although I dislike rise I had to admire the way they treat it - it's not a commodity to them, it's a way of life to so many families). They like to say it's their Identity. On our Rice-journey we went to old rice factory called "Tarrantola Della Bruciata". 

It's story is quite the interesting one:
In the year 1160 King Fridrih, on his conquerors came to Lombardy and burned the village named Ravello. All became ashes, but the old Mill. It survived due to  being surrounded by water that stopped the flames from reaching it.

5. Vigevano 

If I had to chose the best part of our visit - Vigevano would win without doubt.
The earliest records of Vigevano date from the 10th century AD, when it was a favoured residence of the Lombard king Arduin, for the sake of the good hunting in the vicinity.
Vigevano was a Ghibelline commune, favoring the Emperor and was accordingly besieged and taken by the Milanese in 1201 and again in 1275. In 1328 it finally surrendered to Azzone Visconti, and thereafter shared the political fortunes of Milan. The Church of S. Pietro Martire (St. Peter Martyr) was built, with the adjacent Dominican convent, by Filippo Maria Visconti in 1445. In the last years of Visconti domination it sustained a siege by Francesco Sforza. Once he was settled in power in Lombardy, Sforza arranged for Vigevano to be set up as the seat of a bishop and provided its revenues.

Piazza Ducale

Vigevano's main attraction is one of the finest piazzas in Italy, the Piazza Ducale, an elongated rectangle that is almost in the ideal proportions 1:3 advocated by the architectural theorist Antonio Filarete, which is also said to have been laid out by Bramante, and was certainly built for Ludovico il Moro, starting in 1492-93 and completed in record time, unusual for early Renaissance town planning. 
Piazza Ducale was actually planned to form a noble forecourt to his castle, unified by the arcades that completely surround the square, an amenity of the new North Italian towns built in the 13th century. The town's main street enters through a sham arcaded façade that preserves the unity of the space as at the Place des Vosges. Ludovico demolished the former palazzo of the commune of Vigevano to create the space.

Vigevano Cathedral

In the 17th century one end of the Piazza Ducale was enclosed by the concave Baroque façade of the Cathedral, cleverly adjusted to bring the ancient duomo into a line perpendicular to the axis of the piazza and centered on it.
The Cathedral was begun in 1532 under Duke Francesco II, who commissioned the design to Antonio da Lonate. The edifice was completed in 1606. The interior is on the Latin cross plan, with a nave and two aisles, and houses works by Macrino d'Alba, Bernardino Ferrari and others, as well as tempera polyptych of the school of Leonardo da Vinci.

Last, but not least:

Navigli Golosi ("Yummy ride")

(There's a time in our lives when we should be grateful to have Politician Friends)
This Canal was to close down and water was to be pumped out (they do that twice a year) two days before our arrival. However, Someone pulled Some Strings and we were able to enjoy the glorious evening ride.

YES, it really looks like this
(would be utterly romantic.. but I was in a boat with a Mayor and the rest of the Counsil)

Marvelous ending to a inspiring day of learning, tasting and (some) work.
(Please note:
ALL the pictures from this page are, respectively  taken from web pages of the individual places I have been to)


The last day - trip back after a meeting in the Lombard Parliament. 
There was a session on. We were allowed in the Media Center, where I snapped a quick photo with my phone, to share with you:

Some 13 hours later, it was 4:29 AM, and I was home.

I know, I know.. I should have posted this ages ago. But, as my granddad always used to say "Better late than never"
I hope you got to see at least a bit of my experience. It wasn't much, since I was not there as a tourist...

♥♥ Pinky Honey


  1. I love that you mentioned how Italians have time and make time, that for some at least, there is still a sense of leisure and joy in lingering over a meal, a walk down the cobblestone streets in the glistening Mediterranean sun, or espresso after espresso savoured with friends in a corner cafe. We should all take a lesson from my husband's culture and remember to pause and savour life more - not everything needs to be so incredibly rushed all the time.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Indeed, that is a lesson we should all learn.
      Running will get us nowhere. My grandad used to say "You'll hurry up if you take it slow" - meaning: more thinking, more planning, more contenplating - less fussing and stressing.