In 1758, Gian Battista Spolverini dedicated his poem La coltivazione del riso to rice, the “gift from heaven”. Because rice is “... more noble than all grains / after wheat / just as silver prevails / over all precious metals after gold / just as the moon prevails over lesser stars after the Sun”.
The first evidence of rice growing in Mantua dates back to the early 1500s. Rice cultivation was introduced in places where, due flooding of rivers, vast marshes were present: therefore, the land was gradually reclaimed and used profitably. Rice is very sensitive to low temperatures and sudden variations: water limits the changes, and stabilises the temperature of the soil and air near the crop, safeguarding its development. Vialone Nano has been grown in the Oltrepò mantovano since the first half of the 1900s. It is a hybrid variety (the oldest cultivated in Italy, and the second in the world) and a cross between Vialone and Nano, which contain an essential protein that determines greater consistency and less tackiness during cooking. Perfect for dishes from the region.
festa di primavera During the Festa di Primavera the battle of rice takes place, a competition of traditional rice dishes, all to be tasted and enjoyed.
The “riser” is the person who controls and regulates the water level: lowering and raising it encourages the seedlings to take root and fights water parasites (limiting weeding).
RICE WEEDERS From May to August, from dawn to dusk, rice weeders took care of the replanting, weeding, harvesting and harvesting of the rice. The cultivation stages have not changed, but all of the operations are now mechanical; all that remains of the rice weeders are powerful stories and folk songs.