The idea behind this unique rice comes from Domenico Bernascone who, thanks to the passion passed on to him by his grandfather, who cultivated Razza77 in Tornaco in the 1950s, led him to become a commercial agent and a cereal broker from the 1980s. The beginning of the project allowed him to honour his grandfather’s memory.
To help him in this beautiful story two friends and also rice producers joined the venture:
Fabrizio Rizzotti, at the head of the rice farm Riso Rizzotti of Cascina Fornace, carries on with great commitment and dedication the Razza77 project, encouraged not only by the desire to continue an ancient tradition but also by an authentic passion for this product and for the territory.
Silvio Nai Oleari is the owner of the Azienda Agricola Nai Oleari of Tornaco, a family-run company founded around the fifties and now the third generation of rice producers. Nai Oleari is today at the head of a “rice family” that operates throughout the territory of the Bassa Novarese.
In 2014 they began the project with a handful of seeds kindly granted by the Experimental Institute for Italian Cereal Farming (CRA), with which they started to cultivate about 500m2 of land in Tornaco, manually handling most of the production phases, including the monda, the harvest and the drying on the farmyard.
Thanks to the seed produced of that year, it was possible to increase the cultivated area and part of the rice produced was destined for consumption. At this very moment, after decades of oblivion, the Razza77 has finally returned to the table of those who retained its memory.
Over the years, the production extended, involving new farmers interested in the Razza77 project. Thanks to the commitment of Fabrizio Rizzotti, traditional stone processing was introduced in 2017.
The Razza77 is now cultivated in the territory of the Bassa Novarese, a small strip of land straddling Piedmont and Lombardy for centuries devoted to rice-growing. Just this territory saw the Razza77 establish itself for decades – from the 50s to the 70s – on the tables of farmers at the Sunday lunch and in the markets of Novara. This project therefore aims to bring the Razza77 to be the ambassador of the territory of the Bassa Novarese, to bring awareness to wider public towards the beauty of a landscape shaped for centuries by the hand of man and in which the changing of the seasons is measured by the delicate balance of the paddy fields between water, earth and sky.
On 31 October 2017, the Razza77 was registered in the Register of Conservation Varieties: today the producers are the only one responsible for the preservation of this seed in purity. This goal is a responsibility towards a variety that has contributed to the history of Italian rice.