MORE ABOUT PARMIGIANO
After reading my PREVIOUS POST about Parmesan cheese, Art said to me "Didn't you hear me ask the guy how much each wheel weighed?" Obviously not - I must have been comparing some cheeses at the time. Anyway, the man at the cheese counter told Art that each wheel weighed about 40 kg. - about 88 pounds!
Additionally, one of the blocks of cheese I bought came with an informational brochure with this information: It takes 16 liters of milk to make 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of Parmigiano, and each wheel of parmesan contains 600 liters of milk, which more or less corresponds to the 40 kg. Art was told. In addition to being way too heavy to lift, at an average price of €15/kg, that would make each wheel worth about €600, or $780! At that price it's easy to understand why whole wheels of parmesan are used as payment for various things even today.
A timely post from THE ITALIAN NOTEBOOK gives more information about the value of parmesan.