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Pistoia Box: Associazione “Il Ghiareto”

Can a land of emigration, weighed down by the dramatic conditions of the second post-war period, become prosperous again thanks to the determination and collective organization of a community? This is the case of Svizzera Pesciatina, so called because of its similarity to the mountainous landscapes of the Swiss country. A group of natives, at the end of the nineties, gave birth to a non-profit association that has set itself the goal of promoting this specialty not only in Italy, but also in Europe. In fact, in recent times a delegation left for Brussels in order to apply for the certification of Igp product, returning with full hands, while in 2015 it was called to present the Sorana bean at the Expo in Milan.

Observing the valley with its ten castles, we realize that we are in a very special place, where certain modern dynamics affect daily life very little and times are pleasantly compassed. We visit the Pieve di Castelvecchio and we go up even higher until we can enjoy the panorama of Aramo. We take the road to the other side, on whose summit stands Vellano, the capital of the Svizzera pesciatina. Then we go down to the village of Sorana, to listen to human stories that manage to involve us even more. Like that of Rita, whose parents moved to the United States after the war. Born and raised in New York, during a summer vacation she left for Italy with the desire to get to know her parents’ hometown. She immediately fell in love with these places and decided to move here and dedicate herself to the cultivation of the Sorana bean, a millenary tradition that was slowly being lost. He joined the association with conviction and today he contributes to the promotion of this white colored and slightly elongated product, which is an excellent side dish to accompany dishes with delicate flavors.

Roberto, the president of the association, takes us to the labyrinth of the bean plantations. The plants rise well above our heads, already sprouting the first pods, which will then be dried and selected by hand one by one. “No one was willing to work the land to earn a little money anymore,” he tells us as we look in the direction of Sorana, a few hundred meters away, “but then we were able to team up, put our forces together and propose ourselves as a single productive reality.” Once again, recovering one’s roots, as in Rita’s story, as in that of the entire community of Svizzera Pesciatina, means opening the doors to the world and bringing back to life what before seemed to be inexorably lost.