Accordinng to long Italian lore, a traditional of the Piacentino/Parmese area, at the crossroad of the Lombardia & Emilia Romana, there is a traditional dish served to pilgrims making their way from Canterbury to Rome of beans , stale bread and pork rinds, and the unusual beans used were what we know as black-eyed peas. There is some possibility that the beans came Egypt and were cultivated by the Etruscans, but It maybe that the black-eyed pea (which is sometimes called fagiolo Americano) did not find a place in modern Italian cuisine until returned from the “new world.” Whichever or whatever, there is nothing untrue about the long history of this area of Italy feeding pilgrims, refugees, crusaders and mere travelers a nourishing cheap dish of beans, fatback and stale bread (turned into little gnocchi dumplings. The dish – which is never seen in restaurants outside of Italy to my knowledge – is still popular in this corner of Italy, called pisarei e faso, although mostly made with borlotti beans.
Over the 2 weekends, the small walled town of Pizzighettone, easily reached by train from Milano or Bologna, is having what has become its traditional festival to celebrate the bean – which nearly passed out of existence in Italian cultivation in the last century. Pizzighettone, beans aside, is an historic town with historic walls, in a picturesque setting along the banks of the River Adda.