They were a staple in the time of the ancient Etruscans. Pasta e ceci is still a favourite, a soup with pancetta or sausage and flavoured with sage and rosemary. In Puglia it's ciceri e tria, with pasta that's fried, not boiled. They appear in plenty of other soups and sometimes on top of pasta, as in the Calabrian millicusedde, with Savoy cabbage and mushrooms.
Chick pea flour is used in many dishes. Ligurians bake it into a farinata, or fry the dough as panisse. In Tuscany and elsewhere they match them with seafood: a crema di ceci to accompany prawns, or in dishes with mussels or calamari.
ceci neri di Foggia: black chick peas from the Murgia in northern Puglia
Images by: paPIsc