Man-made valleys, rice paddies and risaiole

Valli artificiali, risaie e risaiole

The land surrounding the marsh areas did not offer sufficient drainage and was therefore inadequate for cultivating trees, grapevines or other dry crops. Landowners and renters first began to use these treeless lands - known as “le large” (lèrga) - to cultivate wet crops during the Napoleonic period. Rice was cultivated on farmland areas that were much larger than the tenant farms and required a great deal of manual labor during certain periods of the year.


The rice farmers would therefore turn to wage laborers, paying them by the day or at piece rates. Harvesting, the most important work, was done by children and teams of women called “risaiole” (risaróla). This new workforce of hired hands radically changed the social structure, division of labor and work culture of the plains.