Fabrica di Roma Carne Bean

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

The carne been (fagiolo carne or, as it is known in the local dialect, facòlo a kkàrne) is a local variety of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) from Fabrica di Roma, a town in Viterbo Province, Lazio. Carne means “meat,” and there are a few theories about the bean’s name: It might come from the legume’s light brown color, which resembles meat, or from it’s hearty taste, or from its past use as a meat substitute (this bean is very high in protein). There is historical evidence that beans have been part of the common diet in Fabrica di Roma at least since the 15th century. At that time, farmers were granted a perpetual lease or emphyteusis, according to which they were allowed to cultivate a piece of land owned by a wealthy family or the Church, for example. In return, farmers paid rent in kind, often with beans. Toward the end of the 17th century, beans appear in agricultural records from the area. The carne bean was probably first grown on a piece of land owned by the municipality next to a stream outside of town, where water was always available. The quick maturation of this bean variety meant that it could be alternated with grains or potatoes within one season.

Today, the carne bean is still sown twice each growing season, once in April with harvest in June, and once in July with harvest in October. Sowing is usually done by hand, with 25 centimeters between the plants and 60 cm between the rows. Machinery is used only in a few cases. Weeding is done with a hoe, once per growth cycle. Gravity-driven surface irrigation is possible thanks to the abundance of water in the area. This variety has a low yield of about 1.2 tonnes per hectare of dry beans, and it suffers from elevated temperatures.

In order to protect the carne bean from extinction, the municipality of Fabrica di Roma distributed samples to 40 farmers in 2012, and in 2013 the bean was designated a "Traditional Product of Lazio" by a local rural development agency. However, in 2013 there were only five farmers growing carne beans. Fortnuately, there is a local annual celebration, the “Sagra del Fagiolo Carne Fabbrichese,” dedicated to carne beans. The festival has helped to revive traditional dishes such as gnocchetti con facioli, a type of fresh pasta with pig skin and beans.

Back to the archive >




Other info



Nominated by:Andrea Lucentini