Italy

In the Rice Triangle

A perfect network of ditches, streams and small canals ten thousand kilometres long: here is the “European China”

The European China is located between Lombardy and Piedmont and is a perfect network of ditches, streams and small canals ten thousand kilometres long. A unique hydraulic system in continental Europe waters 235,000 hectares of fields which produce most of European rice. During spring, the “rice triangle” between Vercelli, Novara and Pavia seen from above looks like a checked sea where everything gets reflected: poplars, bell towers, tractors and old farmhouses similar to those featured in the 1949 movie “Riso amaro”, starring Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman.
Rice arrived in Italy around the 11th Century and was grown in the Lombard wetlands by Cistercian monks. Today 4,000 farms, approximately fifty midsize industries and four leading companies preserve the secrets of a trade handed down for centuries from father to son, although recently sons are fewer and fewer.

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