Extra Virgin Olive Oils Regions - Italy
Abruzzo is a small region in Central Italy, bordering Lazio (the region where Rome is located) to the west and the Adriatic sea to the east. Abruzzo is known to be “the greenest region in Europe”, as almost half of its area is set aside as national parks and protected nature reserves. The province of Chieti preserves the autochthonous olive variety of “Gentile di Chieti”; in Pescara we can find the cultivar “Dritta”; Teramo hills host Tortiglione, Castiglionese and Rustica olive trees. Writer Primo Levi defined Abruzzo and its people as “forti e gentili” (strong and gentle), which soon became the region’s motto.
Basilicata is one of the smallest regions of southern Italy; although modest in size, it has always given its own unique characterization to its olive oils. its strategic position, enclosed by the great Italian olive oil regions of Puglia, Campania and Calabria, its microclimates, influenced by the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, similar yet profoundly different, and the characteristics of Basilicata’s soils, particularly exceptional in the volcanic area of Vulture, are all factors which influenced its production.
Calabria is the tip of the Italian boot, and one of the regions with the highest level of olive oil production along with Puglia, Sicily and Tuscany. It is historically proven that olive growing was introduced in those lands by Greek colonists. The climate of this southern region is strongly influenced by its wild mountainous territory, which pushes the altitude of the olive groves up to 200 m / 400 m above sea level.
Campania is one of the southern regions of Italy with the oldest agricultural history and long enogastronomic tradition. Thanks to the heterogeneity of its soil (most of it of volcanic composition) and its climate, each area of Campania has developed a deep connection to olive groves and its cultivars, so much so that we can find hints to those even in the name of some municipalities: Ogliara, from the Ogliarola cultivar, and Oliveto, literally “olive grove”.
Lazio is the region which hosts Italy’s capital city, Rome. Olive culture started in Lazio millenia ago, reaching its maximum prestige during Roman age. Today olive culture is spreading all over the region, especially in the Lazio area of its major lakes and hills, and in the southern zone, the so-called Ciociaria. The most widespread and autochthonous varieties are: Itrana (best known as “Oliva di Gaeta”), Caninese, Carboncella, Frantoio, Leccino and Moraiolo.
Liguria presents a very unique landscape: the Alpi mountains directly overlook the sea, making the work of the farmers so difficult that agriculture is somehow defined as “heroic”. But Ligurians never gave up. The peculiar way that they found to facilitate their agri-work was the construction of terracing (typical dry-stone walls) rewarded even by UNESCO as World Heritage. There is one PDO in Liguria: Riviera Ligure.
Olive cultivation in the Marche region is widely spread across the whole territory, but can especially be found on its hills, enclosed within the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic sea. The development of olive cultivation culture is historically linked to the influence of the Papal State. Marche olives are known both for their use in the production of olive oils – characterized by a medium intensity and green vegetable notes – but also for their use in the popular regional street food recipe of “Olive all’Ascolana”.
Molise is one of Italy’s smallest regions, second only to Valle d’Aosta, but boasts an ancient olive cultivation tradition dating back to Roman times, and about fifteen autochthonous olive oil cultivars. The olive groves of Molise extend for almost all its relatively small (and mainly hilly) surface, as shown by the Molise PDO which covers a large part of the region’s territory; one of its most exploited areas for olive cultivation is the Venafro plain.
Puglia, or Apulia, is one of the Southern regions of Italy. This area is the heart of Italian olive oil production, and when you try EVO oil from Apulia it’s almost as if you could taste the product of the region’s wellness, and when this extraordinary setting meets the enormous skills of the producers and millers of Apulia, you are sure to try one of the best expressions of Extra virgin olive oil. Main olive varieties of Puglia are: Coratina, Ogliarola (“barese”, “del Gargano”, “salentina”), Peranzana, Cima “di Bitonto”, Cima “di Mola”, Cellina di Nardò.
The territory of Sardinia is so diverse that the island has been defined as a “micro-continent”, with travellers falling in love with the region’s wild mountains, the woods and valleys which hide precious remains of the Nuragic civilization, the beautiful sandy beaches as well as the rocky ones which fall into the crystal sea. Going to Sardinia, you will be fascinated by the wide presence of millenials olive trees located in the red soils of the inner part of the island, as well as near the coastline. The main cultivar is the Bosana. Other olive varieties are: Tonda di Cagliari, Tonda or Nera di Villacidro , Semidana and the Pizz’e Carroga
Sicily is one of the two main Italian islands, a land where every province, city and corner is unique. This extraordinary heterogeneity is also recognisable in the gastronomic products (i.e. wines, tomatoes, citrus, eggplants and many delicious recipes) which make the island famous all over the world. In Sicily there are 6 EVO Oil PDOs: Valli Trapanesi, Valle del Belice, Val Demone, Val di Mazara, Monti Iblei, Monte Etna. It asl has one PGI: Sicily.
Umbria is popularly defined as the “Green heart” of Italy: it is located in a central position with no outlets in the sea, and it is rich in groves and natural reserves. The climate is peculiar: continental and definitely colder than all other regions of Central Italy. The principal cultivars in Umbria are Moraiolo (which on this territory expresses very good high quality), Frantoio and Leccino, besides the autochthonous Dolce Agogia (mainly found in the Trasimeno lake area), Rajo, Correggiolo and others.