Arsoli Bean

Italy

Lazio

Legumes

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Arsoli Bean

Beans first arrived in Italy in the first half of the 16th century, thanks to Carlo V of Spain, who ruled a vast empire that spanned Europe, Africa and the Americas. The first varieties, introduced to Spain following their discovery in the Americas, were sent to Rome as a gift for the pope. This was the origin of the Arsoli bean, which has been cultivated in the village of Arsoli, in the province of Rome, since at least 1552. Thefts of the bean occurred so frequently in the area that Pope Julius III was forced to send two magistrates. Over the following centuries, the variety acclimatized perfectly to the slopes around Arsoli, in the Fosso Bagnatore Valley. Several documents attest to its cultivation, and it features in proverbs and traditional songs.
The climbing plant can reach a height of 3.5 meters. These days, canes are generally used to support it as it grows, but in the past the bean was often grown alongside corn so that it could climb up the stalks. The white flowers turn into pods containing small white beans, kidney-shaped and slightly flattened.
The plant needs lots of water, but the many springs in the area ensure that the small plots below the village remain damp and easily cultivable. The harvesting and the threshing are done manually; the latter involves beating the dried pods with canes.
Arsoli beans are easily recognizable by their buttery texture. When cooked properly they can be crushed in the mouth with the tongue, because the skin is very thin. They maintain their consistency for a long time after cooking and are easy to digest, rich in protein and simple to use in the kitchen, as they do not require soaking.
In Arsoli, they are cooked in a terracotta pot called a pignatta, then served in a soup with ciciarchiole (squares of homemade pasta) or stewed with onions, stale bread, extra-virgin olive oil and black pepper.

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Season

Harvesting takes place progressively from August to November, the dried product is available all year round.

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Isolated in this natural niche in the Arsoli countryside, in the Fosso Bagnatore Valley, the bean risked extinction in the last decades of the 20th century, due to its low yield. It was saved only by the determination of a few elderly growers, who saved the seed, and the local authorities, who have organized a festival in its honor for the past 50 years. The bean’s genetic makeup was protected by the basic rule, passed down orally, that seeds resulting from cross-pollination with other ecotypes in the area should be excluded. They are easy to recognize because they are black or streaky rather than pure white. An association of producers, which includes some young growers, is now working to cultivate and promote the bean.

Production area
Arsoli municipality, Rome province

Presidium supported by
Lazio Regional Authority, Arsial, Rome Provincial Authority, Arsoli Municipality
Giampiero Cacchione
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Cesare Battisti, 3
tel. +39 347 3255047
giampiero92@libero.it

Gaetano Censi
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Pileria, 23
francesca censi@alice.it

Paolo Cerroni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via dei Massimo,15
tel. +39 333 9669828

Pietro Cerroni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via dei Massimo, 22
tel. +39 327 5445197
arsolilegumi@libero.it

Marco Gigli
Arsoli (Rm)
Via G. Matteotti, 15
tel. +39 331 6022505
marco.gigli@telecomitalia.it

Angelo Masi
Arsoli (Rm)
Piazzale Massimo, 15
masisofia@yahoo.it
tel. +39 346 4303627

Mario Napoleoni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via G. Matteotti, 1
tel. +39 328 9553040
mario.baffo@alice.it

Stefano Napoleoni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Belmonte, 36
tel. +39 328 2669095
napoleonis@tiscali.it

Paolo Passarelli
Roma
Via dei Pivieri, 58
tel. +39 349 7544583
gino.passarelli@libero.it

Giuseppe Piacentini
Via Aprutina inferiore, 14
tel. +39 0774 920515 - 347 7958857

Bruno Rinelli
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Aprutina inferiore, 13
cristina8.5@hotmail.it

Francesco Tarquini
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Don Minzoni, 5
tel. +39 328 5732757
Producers’ coordinator
Pietro Cerroni
Tel. +39 327 5445197
arsolilegumi@libero.it

Slow Food Presidium coordinator
Gabriella Cinelli
Tel. +39 348 3029144
cinelligabriella@gmail.com
Isolated in this natural niche in the Arsoli countryside, in the Fosso Bagnatore Valley, the bean risked extinction in the last decades of the 20th century, due to its low yield. It was saved only by the determination of a few elderly growers, who saved the seed, and the local authorities, who have organized a festival in its honor for the past 50 years. The bean’s genetic makeup was protected by the basic rule, passed down orally, that seeds resulting from cross-pollination with other ecotypes in the area should be excluded. They are easy to recognize because they are black or streaky rather than pure white. An association of producers, which includes some young growers, is now working to cultivate and promote the bean.

Production area
Arsoli municipality, Rome province

Presidium supported by
Lazio Regional Authority, Arsial, Rome Provincial Authority, Arsoli Municipality
Giampiero Cacchione
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Cesare Battisti, 3
tel. +39 347 3255047
giampiero92@libero.it

Gaetano Censi
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Pileria, 23
francesca censi@alice.it

Paolo Cerroni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via dei Massimo,15
tel. +39 333 9669828

Pietro Cerroni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via dei Massimo, 22
tel. +39 327 5445197
arsolilegumi@libero.it

Marco Gigli
Arsoli (Rm)
Via G. Matteotti, 15
tel. +39 331 6022505
marco.gigli@telecomitalia.it

Angelo Masi
Arsoli (Rm)
Piazzale Massimo, 15
masisofia@yahoo.it
tel. +39 346 4303627

Mario Napoleoni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via G. Matteotti, 1
tel. +39 328 9553040
mario.baffo@alice.it

Stefano Napoleoni
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Belmonte, 36
tel. +39 328 2669095
napoleonis@tiscali.it

Paolo Passarelli
Roma
Via dei Pivieri, 58
tel. +39 349 7544583
gino.passarelli@libero.it

Giuseppe Piacentini
Via Aprutina inferiore, 14
tel. +39 0774 920515 - 347 7958857

Bruno Rinelli
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Aprutina inferiore, 13
cristina8.5@hotmail.it

Francesco Tarquini
Arsoli (Rm)
Via Don Minzoni, 5
tel. +39 328 5732757
Producers’ coordinator
Pietro Cerroni
Tel. +39 327 5445197
arsolilegumi@libero.it

Slow Food Presidium coordinator
Gabriella Cinelli
Tel. +39 348 3029144
cinelligabriella@gmail.com