Monday, July 18, 2016

Welcome to Italy!

Greetings from Cremona, Italy where the SDARL Alumni will be resting their heads for the next four nights! The entire group arrived safely in Milan on Sunday minus a few pieces of Pat and Dawn Scheier's luggage. We were greeted by our English speaking tour guide, Ms. Riikka Maija. 

A lengthy layover in Atlanta, GA allowed us to have a city tour. We visited The State Farmer's Market, the Confederate Cemetery, and CNN.

We arrived in Milan around 9:00 a.m. and headed straight to our first tour at a dairy called Az. Ag Soldi. This 800 head dairy is currently milking 350 cows twice a day. The 700 acre farm also grows rice, corn and alfalfa. A newly built Biogas system came into operation in 2015 and has proven to be a profitable new feature at this farm. It uses both liquid and solid and produces 250 Kw of energy per hour.

The painting of the Last Supper by Leonardo Devenchi was our next stop. 

Cremona, a town of 70,000 in population, is well known for its 160 violin, viola, and cello workshops and as the home of the famous violin maker, Stradivari.  A Stradivari violin now sells for $1M Euro. On Sundays, the town is very quiet with very few locals out and about. We easily walked the quaint streets on a tour where we ended up at the city square complete with cobblestone, the beautiful cathedral and bell tower as well as government and agricultural buildings. The cathedral stood out as a highlight due to all the intricate stone carvings on the outside and more detailed art work on the inside. 

We completed our first full day in Itally by raising our wine glasses and saying, "Salud!" while eating a delicious multi-course dinner outdoors under the shadow of the beautifully lit city center bell tower.