Scenes from the 9th World Congress on Coloured Sheep held May, 2019 in Biella, Italy


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Sanctuario di Oropa was a spectacular site for the World Congress on Coloured Sheep, 2019. After a day of wrong turns and dead ends, I could actually find my way around this immerse place. It was fun exploring the grounds and wandering in the many hallways. Photo: Rolly Thompson. There were participants from 22 countries; they came from as far away as Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and the United States. Many countries in Europe were represented as well. There was lots of time to socialize and share what everyone was doing. The wine was good and the meals were delicious. Photo: Rolly Thompson. After two days of presentations we visited three mills in Biella. The first one (pictured) was a wool sorting and grading warehouse. The second was a scouring and combing mill and the third a weaving mill where I sunk my hands into a huge barrel of vicuña. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the second and third mills, but they were producing some beautiful yarn and clothing. Photo: Rolly Thompson.
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The visit to a Fontina cheese warehouse was a treat. They had very good sanitation practices, so we were dressed in booties, plastic coats and hair caps that made us look like we were entering an operating room. Photo: Rolly Thompson. A visit to Les Tisserands gave us an opportunity to see this weaving cooperative where they promote weaving as well as have an exhibit of the history of weaving in the area of Valgrisanche. Photo: Rolly Thompson. On the first day of the post-Congress tour we took a walking tour of the beautiful and old city of Biella. There were busy boulevards and quiet pedestrian streets. Photo: Rolly Thompson. While in Biella we passed a woman in her small studio weaving on her loom. Photo: Rolly Thompson.
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Although this was the World Congress on Coloured Sheep, we only visited one flock of sheep pastured on a steep hillside in a lush field. The shepherd used goats as protectors of the sheep. Photo: Rolly Thompson. For me, the highlight of the post-Congress tour was the truffle dogs. We watched as the trifulao, the trainer of the truffle dogs, showed us how the dogs are trained to hunt for truffles. These two dogs were in training but were enthusiastic about showing us how good they were. Photo: Rolly Thompson.