Marano Equo Regina Bean

Ark of taste
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Marano Equo, is an ancient village that is located at about 480 meters above sea level, on the slopes of the Ruffi Mountains, it has been known since ancient times for the quality and quantity of its water springs, called “marane”.

Near the Aniene river, in the flat areas of the small town, there are mineral springs and the intakes of important antique Roman aqueducts.
The Claudio Aqueduct and the Aqua Marcia – which are still functioning today – and the Aqua Augusta, collected water from the lakes formed by the Curzia and Cerulea springs, which are located between the municipalities of Arsoli and Marano Equo.

The regina bean has always been grown in the vegetable gardens of the plains, it is a climbing ecotype that can reach 2.5-3 meters. The plant produces kidney beans that have a hazelnut colour speckled with red and shades that are even dark brown. It is delicate and creamy in the mouth, and its skin is very thin, and it is easy to digest.

The soils in this area are ideal for this cultivar. They are loose, drained by adjoining drainage ditches, and divided into furrows which, after the soil around the legume is broken up and weeded, act as basins to water the plants at the root at least once a week, or as needed. They are sown when the soil temperatures have reached at least 12°C, between the second half of April and the beginning of May. For its vegetational development it requires “encannamento”, that is the support of four reeds crossed and tied together, which is why it is called by the locals “fasulone palatu”. Harvest takes place between mid-August and the end of September.

Local stories confirm that this bean was grown for the needs of the family and the local market even before the First World War. It was cultivated less during the Second World War, but from the 1950s its cultivation then became widespread once again as well as techniques used to preserve it. Then in the mid-1970s, due to the general abandonment of agriculture and the excessive exploitation of the land, its cultivation experienced another decline.

But the people from Marano still continue to cultivate it in small gardens using traditional methods. A study conducted in 1967 by the “Centro di Sviluppo Aniene” cited the “Regina rampicante” that was eaten both fresh and dried, was grown mainly in Marano Equo.

This bean cultivar is considered to be at risk of genetic erosion and for this reason it has been the subject of a study at the University of Tuscia which has identified and certified the ecotype. Their findings state that this variety is only cultivated on some family plots in Marano Equo and on one plot of land in Subiaco. It is difficult to find this bean outside of the local market, especially since it is predominately consumed as a fresh product, and therefore only available in the autumn period. It is mainly dried so that the seed can be conserved, and some families have it available throughout the year.
It is ideal for soups due to its thin skin and digestibility once it is cooked. Regina bean soup with pancetta is a well known local dish.

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Production area:Marano Equo Municipality (Roma province)

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Nominated by:Francesca Litta