Beans have been cultivated around Paganica, a hamlet near the town of L’Aquila, for hundreds of years, taking advantage of the deep, fresh, alluvial soil and the presence of waterways fed by mountain springs. Production is concentrated in the basin of the Vera River, whose springs flow from the slopes of the Gran Sasso. Until a few decades ago, this was an important business, with the beans sold locally but also in nearby provinces such as Terni and Rieti.
There are two varieties (ecotypes) of Paganica bean, both with a long life cycle (between 160 and 180 days). The climbing plants have white flowers and can grow up to 2 meters tall with the support of special willow poles. The two types of bean are different colors: The fagiolo a pane, also known as the fagiolo ad olio, is beige tending towards Havana or hazelnut brown and has a central eye, while the white bean, known as the fagiolo a pisello, is ivory white and slightly rounder.
The white bean tends to have a thinner skin and buttery flesh, and is more tender than the fagiolo ad olio, which however preserves more of its fragrance and flavor after cooking. The cooking time should always be brief, around 30 minutes, a sign of quality.
The beans can be cooked on their own and dressed simply with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, or they are also excellent in a local soup made with guanciale, another typical local product, and served with rustic bread.
Late spring with harvest in autumn
Additionally, wrong-headed political decisions have led to fertile land, ideal for bean cultivation, being turned over to industrial development and overbuilding, thanks in part to reconstruction following the 2009 earthquake.
The future of this crop is dependent on a small but highly motivated group of young growers who believe in the bean both as a source of income and as a driving force for the social revival of the local area. They are working to collect the seed from older growers and to manage cultivation in an environmentally friendly way.
Paganica, Tempera, San Gregorio, Bazzano and Onna hamlets, L'Aquila municipality
Presidium supported by
Gal Gran Sasso Velino
Via Luigi Biondi, 3 F
Tel. +39 349 3451746
Via Paganica, 6
Tel. +39 327 7864032
Via Arco dei Giusti, 2 B
Tel. +39 338 7398037
Via San Giustino
Tel. +39 338 1693340
Società Agricola La Simentale
di Antonio Tennina
Via Onna, 11
Tel. +39 389 0812524