Marano Corn was created around 1890 in Marano Vicentino (VI) in Veneto by a farmer who crossed two varieties of corn: the local Nostrano (“precoce cinquantino corn”) and the Pignoletto d’oro from Rettorgole di Caldogno (VI). Over the years this corn variety has been improved and these operations have continued at the Bergamo Corn Cultivation Experimental Station since 1934. Thanks to this institution, Marano Corn spread throughout almost the entire Lombardy region, especially in the areas with a warmer climate.
It is a corn with a medium vegetative cycle, the plant reaches a height of almost 2 meters and, if grown in fertile soils, it can even grow taller. Several cobs are inserted on each shoot (usually 3 or 4, but there can be even more) which are between 12 to 20 cm long, 4 cm wide and that have a cylindrical shape. Each ear has 12-14 straight or left-hand rows; the cob is white. The kernels of the Marano corn are glassy, orange in colour, shiny, and have a flattened apex. In order to obtain the grain, it is sown in May and June as a second crop after other forage crops.
Marano Corn is harvested during the first days of September. The kernels are ground in order to create polenta flour, which is often mixed with flours from other types of corn.
In the second post-war period, Marano Corn began to be replaced by new hybrid crops. It is still cultivated by some small farmers who consider it the best corn for polenta. Though it was historically widespread throughout the region, today Marano corn is grown only in some areas, for example in the Oltrepò Pavese and in Valchiavenna.
This corn variety has been the subject of research projects that have been completed by some professors and researchers from the University of Pavia, who have also collected a lot of information on a large number of local Lombard varieties in a publication ("Traditional Lombard agronomic varieties at risk of extinction or genetic erosion Vegetables and cereals: an overview ", G. Rossi, F. Guzzon, M. Canella, E. R. Tazzari, P. Cauzzi, S. Bodino, N. M.G. Ardenghi, Pavia University Press, 2019).
The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.