Villa Francannzan Piovene - 17th September 2011

Peter Godwin, his wife Julie, Myself (Ernie) and my wife Hazel were fortunate to be personaly invited by Gianfranco Bisson our Italian Area Representative to their Tractor & Ploughing Show in the beautiful grounds of Villa Frananzan Piovene in Vicenza. This event is held every year by kind permission of the Count, he opens his grounds for tractor displays ( aswell as his own personal very original collection ), ploughing , local businesses and crafts.

Upon arriving at Marco Polo Intl Airport we were warmly welcomed by Francesco Bisson, perfect english speaking & one of Gianfranco's sons. The weather as we left the airport was superb - hot and sunny, Francesco said we were lucky as it was normaly rainning by now, so that was a good start.
From the airport we were taken to Agriturismo "Canova"  which is a Guest house / Farm run by Bruno & Emma.
Bruno has a fantastic Fordson Major in total original condition and with Italian export modifications. Aswell as a Dexta which was used at this time of the year for daily collecting the grapes from his vineyards .
Bruno said the Dexta was great because it was small enough together with his small trailer for the country lanes around his vineyards . He then emptied the grapes from the small trailer into a much larger one and transported these to the local winery for bottling.
In the afternoon we were taken to Museo Nicolis.
     This is Lueiano Nicolis personal collection. He has enjoyed many years collecting and has now built a fantastic museum for the public to view them. There were many items ranging from Lambretta's, Motorcycles. A superb Moto Guzzi Trike from 1949, it looks up to the standard of the one's you can get now days. The amazing glass building even had 3 areoplanes on the roof.
Push bikes,Including a fantastic firemens pushbike with front wheel driven siren, hose reel, water pump and crow bar. Automatic music machines, cine cameras, airaplane engines, cars.
A colletion of racing car steering wheels all signed by their drivers, and cabenet's full of vintage headlights from Rolls Royce to Bugati.                        
This Italian war multi-purpose trike-vehicle also caught our eye. Automatic, track or wheel driven. A superbly designed piece of machinery from years gone by.

Saturday morning was another hot, sunny day - fantastic as we are off to Venice for the day. We made our way down to the Vicenza railway station, where while sitting waiting for the train I notice an old steam locomative over the other side of the tracks.
Francesco had arranged for us to meet up with Angela on the train. Angela was a freind of the Bisson family and as she had lived in Venice agreed to be our tour guide.The train journey took about an hour, which was great as it allowed us to see some Italian scenery.
Venice is a superb city and I very much recommend a visit, it is full of beautiful architecture with squares, allyways that lead to other squares that you wouldn't have even known existed, bridges, shops and places to chill out and eat the local food.
The shop were superb, some of the masquerade masks were works of art as were the shops window displays.
We had a coffee and a pastry in this cafe with the most fantastic range of sweets you could have imagined. As you can see Hazel was spoilt for choice and Peter had a even harder time making up his mind.
St. Marc's square was very busy, but breath taking as the size & scale of the buildings were unreal.
We walked out of the square and along the water front and found some clever pigeons beating the hot sun by having a cold shower supplied by the mains cold water used by this vendor to keep his drinks cold.
After a fantastic day visiting Venice. We caught the train back to Vicenza, That evening Francesco recommended a resturant up in the hills near where we were staying. The food there was mouth watering together with a few ice cold beers, that rounded the day of nicley.

Sunday morning was also hot and sunny for the Tractor show day. Francesco picked us up and took us to the local village of Orgiano where the show was to be held. It was a mass of people, tractors, horse & carts all driving along towards the large gates into the Count's estate.
The show setting was superb, local business's trade stalls, tractors, horses with and with out carts, vintage equipment & vehicles.
Gianfranco brought this lovely Ford Anglia. It was the first left hand drive Ford Angila to be imported into Italy. This is one of many of his fantastic tractor & vehicle collection. . . . . . Peter and the FFA magnet stickers get everywhere !!
This vehicle used to visit the local farms in the area and grind their wheat into flour.The original owner
also converted the vehicle to suit the grinding machine.
This Italian Gentleman had converted his Suzuki Jeep to be able to run on steam that he generated using the wood burner / boiler on the back. He spent most of the day quite happily chugging around the grounds.
The tractors were lined up in the main field and mainly consited of Landini - ORSL - Fiat - Fordsons. Restored or original the main thing that I found after chatting with the owners, was that the majority of them were still being used everyday around their farms & small holdings and that is what they were built for.
While walking around the tractors I noticed an extending hydraulic platform that was being used for lighting & the local t.v film crews. Well the opportunaty was too good to miss, so off I went to ask if I could go up in it for some good area photos.
This was all well and good but when the extending arm reached it's max height the guy's operating it wandered off. I think this had something to do with Hazel & Julie as they found this very amusing - thank you Ladies. After 20 minutes or so the guys came back, who were also laughing with the ladies, to let me down. It was worth while as the views was fantastic, as was Peter Godwin - FFA Chairman getting onto local TV News that night.
Roaving FFA Website Reporter "Ernie" on the up !!
The Count had on show his personal collection, so it was off next to see this and what a collection he had.
After our BBQ lunch of steak - sosauge - pasta - salad and ofcourse some cold beers, (these were to steady my nerves after being stuck up in the air) it was time for "Italian Style Ploughing".
There wasn't really any order of ploughing, compeditors were jumping from their ploughed section to another and then off to someone else's. They were ploughing at about 2-3ft deep as you will see in the photos. We were told that this is because of bad top soil and the need for good drainage. It was all fun and not taken seroiusly at all, which is totaly different to ploughing in the UK.
It was fantastic to watch especialy the "Tractor Wheelie man".
We had a Fantastic time in Italy, at the tractor show and visiting places. We were made very welcome by everyone we met and chatted to. Mine, Hazel's, Julie's & Peter's Thank's go out to Gianfranco for his invite to us, Bruno & Emma. But especialy to Francesco Bisson who helped and organised our trips and soted any problems we had while in Italy. A very BIG Thank you to you ALL.
Words & Photos - Ernie

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Orgiano in Piazza 2011

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