La Cascina Grampa
History. “Cascina Grampa has belonged to my family since 1939 but we rented it out for almost 60 years until my father Mario personally started our farm in 1997. It is now the home of the Azienda Agricola Giovanni Testa, in the San Pietro area in the centre of the flourishing rice growing plain around Novara.”
Its name derives from the dialect form ‘Grampà’, meaning “handful of rice grains” referring to the classic movement of the farmer during sowing.
Archive documents of 1572, when it was purchased by the Conti Tornielli, nobles in Novara, show that there was already a settlement named ‘la Grampa’ at that time.
The charm of Cascina Grampa enables visitors to experience life in a now forgotten world with its ‘closed courtyard’ with an old stable and the barn above, the employees’ house, the rice-weeders’ dormitory and refectory and the family house where we live.
Architecture. Cascina Grampa is a typical building in the rice growing panorama of Piedmont and Novara. It’s a complex of rural buildings with an original architectural layout of the first half of the 19th century forming a typical quadrilateral with a closed courtyard.
A historic water mill is annexed on the north side along the main branch of the Crosa ‘stream’, the old irrigation channel for the Grampa paddy fields which already ran around the farm in the 17th century.
The stream has a considerable water drop, which the imposing water-wheel has used since then and still moves the old millstone (molazza) and the historic rice pista, the old wood and stone machine for husking the rice, recently rediscovered and back in function after complex philological work of renovation and partial reconstruction of the mechanical parts.
Tradition. Cascina Grampa tells its history, and that of many other farms, through its close connection with the peasant rice production tradition. This continues to live in the traditional rooms, artefacts and old machinery that we faithfully preserve, renovate and pass on. A project for the functional recovery of the farm – the old water mill is back turning with the millstone (molazza) and the rediscovered ‘pista’, the old wood and stone machine for husking the rice.
The next steps will be to complete the whole rice husking machine that worked at the Grampa farm until just after the Second World War and other interesting new items to experience in the farm, in addition to guided tours which we have hosted with pleasure since 2014.