July 30: Bergantino,Ostiglia, Libiola, Governolo, Mantua

The day has a chill in the air as the group waits for breakfast to be served. The first time in over a week that a light jacket or sweater is needed -- only to change as the sun comes up over the horizon. The day promises once more to be warm (95-100 degrees) and cloudless. This does not deter from a determined and energetic group to explore the countryside.

Today's route includes a visit to a Grana Padano cheese factory and the National Museum of Carousels and Entertainment in Bergantino. The factory is completely staffed by volunteers that carry on the old and strict traditions of production of the Grana Padano cheese. It takes 100 liters of milk to start the process for one cheese round. In the storage room there are over 1000 rounds per row!

Continuing on down the route through the ancient towns of Ostiglia, Libiola, and Governolo, the group rejoins the Po River as it heads to Mantua.

Mantua was the home of the powerful and very influential Gonzaga family and thus is one of the main artistic, cultural and musical hubs of Northern Italy. It is the birthplace of the Roman poet, Virgil born in 70 BC. The city itself dates back to abut 2000 BC. "The Bibiena Theater, also known as the Teatro Scientifico, was made by Antonio Bibiena in 1767-1769. It was opened officially on 3 December 1769 and on 16 January 1770, thirteen-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played a concert." Wikipedia

Bikes Ready Waiting for the Group

Waiting for Breakfast!

Waiting for Breakfast

Morning Light

Grana Padano Lecture!

Rows and Rows of Cheese Rounds

One Round Showing Markings

A Column of 1000 Rounds Per Row

Shrink Wrapping the Cheese for Shipment

Sample Time -- Italians Always Drink Wine with Cheese!

Breaking Bread with Cheese Samples

Downtown Bergantino

Carousel Museum

Carousel Museum

Carousel Museum

Carousel Museum

Carousel Museum

Felipe, Our Captain! (on right) Ship Owner (left)

Entering the Lake System Around Mantua

The Mantua Castle

Mantua Cathedral