Wandering nurseries: from Novara to Vercelli, between water and rice (Piedmont/2)

“Born in water, dies in wine”, is a traditional saying of the plain between Vercelli and Novara, where about 50% of the Italian rice is produced (the second most important area is Lomellina, in Lombardy). Irrigated by dozens of canals whose water comes from the rivers Sesia and Ticino, this plain represents a veritable patrimony of hydraulic architecture, begun with Camillo Benso of Cavour; away from traditional touristic itineraries, it is very suggestive, with its chessboard of bank and waters, that, from April to May, reflect the sky and the clouds, and then, from June, transform into a light green English lawn as rice plants germinate, grow and produce their precious grains. The only negative point are mosquitoes during summer…

Now that the time of rice weeders is over (here, precisely at Cascina Venerìa in Lignana, the famous neorealist film Bitter RIce was set in 1948), in this aquatic landscape constantly appearing and disappearing, you can see herons, kingfishers and many other birds the live in the pappy fields and canals lined with poplar trees. Aside from its naturalistic beauty, this area has much to offer from the point of view of food, wine and art: vineyards on the hills, many historic farmsteads and castles, that became the heart of small villages, palazzi, churches and abbeys, such as Cupola di San Gaudenzio and Casa Bossi in Novara, among the most beautiful neo-classicist palaces in Italy although damaged over time; in Vercelli you can find the Borgogna Museum, hosting works by Tiziano, Palma il Vecchio, Ghirlandaio and Bruegel, the Dome Museum and the church of San Cristoforo with its frescoes; in the surrounding countryside there are the Quinto Castle and the Lucedio Abbey in Trino, founded in 1123 by Cistercian monks, the first ones to install rice imported from China.

In the area there are many special nurseries, one more specialised than the other. Our itinerary will guide you to the discovery of collections of roses, irises, hellebores, peonies, dahlias, particular fruits, ornamental shrubs, ferns, musks and countless unusual plant.



The map indicates the nurseries and the other locations of the suggested itinerary. For each nursery, we indicate its distance from the others, in order to facilitate you in the choice of the ones to visit and their order.


Az. vivaistica F.lli Leonelli

Azienda florovivaistica F.lli Leonelli, Castelletto Sopra Ticino (Novara): founded by Paolo and Claudio Leonelli more than 20 years ago, they produce herbaceous plants, grasses, roses, particular shrubs, and design and create gardens. Among the perennial herbaceous plants, the collections of Geranium, Tricyrtis, Campanula, Heuchera, Columbine, Aster and Echinacea stand out.
Distance from other nurseries: 7,5 km from HoyaMia – 7 km from Vivai Prandini – 9 km from Nifantani – 38 km from Central Park – 17,5 km from Fiorichiari – 31 km from Floricola Il Giardino – 38 km from Vivaio La Montà.




HoyaMia, Veruno (Novara): a small family-run nursery specialised in the reproduction and cultivation of many species of Hoya, many of them unusual, particular and rare. Hoyas are succulents with and amazing flowering mostly coming from South-East Asia, largely still unknown. The nursery activity, aiming at researching the best methods of cultivation and reproduction of these plants and gather more enthusiasts, started with a small private collection of Silvia De Pretto; it grew over time, counting now more than 200 different species and varieties.
Distance from other nurseries: km 6 from Vivai Prandini – km 7,5 from F.lli Leonelli – km 9,5 from Nifantani – km 39 from Central Park – km 14 from Fiorichiari – km 28 from Floricola Il Giardino – km 34 from Vivaio La Montà.