In December we were in Italy, near the famed marble quarries of Carrara. I go there to select marble for my sculpture. A friend mentioned to me that the Italian National Poultry Championship, the XXV Campionati Italiani di Avicoltura, was being held that weekend at the convention center in Carrara, a huge facility where I've attended exhibitions of marble and stone working machinery. So, of course, my wife and I spent all Sunday there, enjoying the chickens and taking LOTS of photos. There were nearly 1500 birds entered as competitors, and others that were just there for sale. Many were breeds we are familiar with from the U.S., but quite a lot were Italian or European breeds and varieties that are rarely seen stateside. This White Crested Bantam Polish Hen was best in show. In Italian this breed is called an Olandese con Ciuffo, and the variety is Nana Nera con Ciuffo Bianco. Her score was E97. (Excellent, 97 points). She comes from the town of Ravenna, a city famous for some of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture, with stunning 5th and 6th century mosaics. I'll explain the scoring system in the next post, and include scores when I can in with the photos.