Lomellina, the land of rice fields

Towns rich in history, rice fields and special delicacies: discover all of this and more on the picturesque territory of Lomellina.

Photo gallery
Lomellina, the land of rice fields - Image: 1
Lomellina, the land of rice fields - Image: 2
Lomellina, the land of rice fields - Image: 3
Article description

Lomellina is a land of ancient origins and long-time transformation which takes its name from Lomello, seat of the ancient medieval shire. A borderland surrounded by three rivers (Ticino, Sesia and Po), a passageway between Piedmont and Lombardy. This duality has always been at the center of the conflicts which have split and reunited it. Historic events have, in a way, reshaped the territory over a long period of time. Water, the quintessential vital element, has marked its existence.
The natural ecosystem (formed by rich forests, marshy areas at the base of sand hills) has been transformed by irrigation works into what we now identify as the typical landscape from Lomellina: “the checkered sea”, the rice fields. It's here that the traditional local “cascina lombarda” (Lombard Farm) was born, the beating heart of agricultural activities.
Castles, abbeys, medieval parish churches, basilicas and farms make up the historic heritage preserved among towns and villages of small and medium size. There two main towns: Mortara and Vigevano, connected to the Visconti-Sforza Duchy of Milan.
The first documented traces of rice cultivation in the Po Valley date back to the Visconti era, in Lomellina. 1475 is the year when two letters written by Galeazzo Maria Sforza in which the ducal estates of Villanova in Cassolnovo were mentioned. 
Here is where twelve precious sacks of rice, escorted like spices, were sent from as a gift to the Este family to introduce the cultivation in the territory of Ferrara.
Since then the world of rice has evolved in Lomellina, forming the most important area of rice production in Italy, along with Pavia, cultivating varieties ranging from rice for risotto to finer rices ideal for different uses in the kitchen.

Unlike other areas where rice is cultivated, Lomellina preserves a strong biodiversity thanks to the preservation of the local fauna and flora of the so-called “heronries”. Water is a fundamental element for the ecosystem of the heronries too, preserving a very valuable natural habitat, which are the places where families of herons and other animal species nest or seek refuge.

[To report any typos/errors, please use the contact form. We appreciate your cooperation.]