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I would really like to see real-life paddy fields. What's the closest destination to Central Europe where people really cultivate rice?

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paddies is just one way to cultivate rice. Generally in less wet climates like in Europe (Spain, Italy, etc.) rice is grown like other grains, on regular fields. –  jwenting Jan 30 '12 at 7:17
    
Yes, that's the reason I'm particularly interested in paddies. –  RoflcoptrException Jan 30 '12 at 8:06

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Piedmont region in Northern Italy is pretty close to central Europe.

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Cool, thanks. So I finally know where my Risotto comes from. –  RoflcoptrException Jan 30 '12 at 8:06

Right next to Piedmont is Lombardy, where you'll also find many paddy fields. Indeed the province of Pavia and the geographical area known as Lomellina contain the most productive rice farmlands in Italy, according to this site (in Italian). Seeing the paddy fields is easy: all you have to do is drive along the A7 from Milan to Serravalle (no point going further since that's where the mountains start) during the right season. Looking around you'll find plenty. If you want to take a closer look you can exit the highway and drive your car all the way to the closest paddy field. Some farming companies also allow visits of their land and facilities. For example the linked article mentions La Sforzesca, in the province of Vigevano, for it's historical value, saying that its irrigation system was designed by Leonardo Da Vinci for Ludovico Il Moro who gave it to Beatrice d'Este as a wedding gift:

Chi voglia riscoprire atmosfere dei tempi andati può visitare la Sforzesca, un’ampia tenuta a pochi chilometri da Vigevano, splendida meta non solo per gli amanti del plein air, ma anche per chi si interessa di storia, architettura o più semplicemente per chi desidera vivere qualche ora nel contesto affascinante della tenuta che fu dono d’amore di Ludovico il Moro per la giovane sposa Beatrice d’Este. L’azienda agricola fu progettata da Leonardo da Vinci, che si occupò soprattutto della rete di rogge e canali funzionali alla regimazione delle acque tra il Ticino, il Po e il Sesia, in un’epoca in cui la risicoltura del territorio pavese ebbe un forte impulso.

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You should travel to Southeast Asian countries like Thailand or Vietnam, Malaysia...

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Note that the question is about 'closest to Central Europe'. So this does not really answer the question. –  drat Jul 29 at 5:09

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