What natural treasures does the Italian Molise hide? We discovered the answer on our study trip

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Eight students from Braća Radić High School from Split, their teacher Marijana Bjeliš and Sunce representatives spent the beginning of April in the province of Molise, Italy, where they had their study trip. We visited our friends at Instituto tecnico agrario e geometra, whom we had the pleasure of hosting in February. During their visit to Croatia, they made many new acquaintances and gained knowledge and skills useful for practicing sustainable agricultural models, all within the Interreg VERA project – Sustainable agricultural models for biodiversity preservation. Let’s see how our students had a good time in Italy.

Students from Split are learning about sustainable Italian agricultural practices

We arrived in Lario in the evening after a day of travel and settled into a hostel located in the heart of this beautiful destination.

The second day started with an educational walk through nature surrounding the school of our hosts and a visit to the estate guided by our kind host. Young agronomist Angelo Pastorini showed and explained to us the types of olives they cultivate and why bees are beneficial. He also enabled us to experience a walk using VR glasses and taste an Italian specialty: olive oil ice cream! To top it off, Croatian students were gifted with a Verdesca fig tree, which they will plant in the schoolyard as a memento.

We participated in the making of mozzarella

We spent the afternoon in the school’s experimental laboratory for mozzarella production and had a try at butter making in the culinary activities’ classroom.

How do they prune olives and produce wine in the Molise province?

On the third day, we listened to the theoretical part about olive pruning using the polyconic vase method and then tried it ourselves in the practical session. We noticed differences in pruning practices between Croatia and Italy and discussed various methods and tools. Later in the day, we visited the Cantine D’Uva winery, where we saw and learned more about their vine and how they care for it. We also became acquainted with the wine production process itself.

Visit to Kruč

We also visited the village of Kruč, or Aquaviva Collecroce, one of the settlements where predominantly descendants of Molise Croats reside. One of them guided us through the village, and later, in his company, we also visited the Azienda agricola Cianfagna, known for producing the indigenous wine variety – tintilia.

On the final day of the program, the hosts prepared a real treat for us: making sweets traditionally baked by Molise Croats, appropriately called “kolač”. Our students also prepared several homemade Easter cakes for the Italians to try before we visited the warehouse and workshop where spectacular masks are made for the increasingly popular Carnival di Larino. Finally, we toured the historical landmarks of Larino with the expert guidance of Lorenzo Di Maria, an employee of the Larino Municipality, which is the leading partner in this project.

Our last dinner in Larino was a true Italian experience! Our partners and hosts made an effort to surprise us with a dinner featuring several courses of homemade and traditional food.

The morning before departure, we had the opportunity to experience a regional olive pruning competition in which students from our host school also participated. We listened to tips and instructions from the national champion and watched in fascination as the olives changed their shape before heading home full of impressions.

The final study within this project will take place at the end of the year, when we will host our partners in Croatia for the concluding conference.

The VERA Project is funded under the Interreg Italy-Croatia 2021/2027 (PRIORITY AXIS 2 – Green and Resilient Common Environment).

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