The Po Valley is very industrialised and if it's not got a factory on it then the fertile land is used for farming. Every inch of the valley is used to produce something and is the Industrial heart of the country.
Old Piacenza was beautiful. The outskirts are like any other modern city but the center is wonderful.
It's been hot the last few days and it's starting to take its toll. I was grateful when I arrived in the shaded walk ways of Cremona, the home of the violin and it's most maker Stradivarias.If I thought Piacenza was beautiful then Cremona has out done it 2 times over. This has got to be the highlight so far. What a stunnign town. The main Piazza is immense. I wandered round a craft fair, watched a police do demonstration, sat and relaxed in the park, had Pizza, got loads of photos and generally had a nice evening. The place is really buzzing.
On my way I've noticed the habit of the Itlian motorcyclist to ride past with one hand on his leg and his crotch area thrust forward, as if to say "look at what I'm packing". It certainly is a very macho culture here, much less openand friendly as the french. When I rode through France cycist would stop me or ride alongside, genuinely interested in where I came frm and where i was going. At the very least they would say hello. In Italy this is not always so and sometimes I'm blanked. Is this because they are more wary of strangers or do I threaten their machismo because I'm "packing a bigger piece"?! (ie I'm carryig more luggage). Whatever it is I still like the place and the people and everyone has been friendly where I've stayed.