Trentino Alto Adige
Friuli Venezia Giulia
Bianca o Pitz
Gentile di Chieti
Itrana di Gaeta
Leccio del Corno
Nocellara del Belice
Olearola del Gargano
Termite di Bitetto
Tonda di Cagliari
The origins of the olive coincide with those of
Mediterranean civilization: the first olive groves were cultivated in
Syria and Palestine, and around 1000 B.C. spread throughout
In order to develop, the olive tree needs water, sun, and soil that
is not too deep.
Olive oil is the only fundamental foodstuff which derives from a
fruit and after 50 centuries is still obtained by the same process of
pressing the ground olives and then separating the oil from the
For olive oil to earn the name "virgin", it must be obtained from the
olive by mechanical processes only, and in conditions of which
temperature is the most important, where the oil is not altered. The
oil must not undergo procedures other than those of washing,
decanting, centrifugal treatment and filtration. Olive oils obtained
with solvents, esther processes and mixes with other oils are not
An "extra virgin" olive oil must have an oleic acid (degree of
acidity) content of less than 1 percent. The quality of olive oil
depends upon many factors: the variety of the tree; the state of the
olive and the fruit at the moment of harvest; the technology used in
the production, harvesting and extraction; the conditions of
Agogio (also called Sweet Agoglia, Nerella, Olivella).
Cultivated only in Umbria and poorly diffused due to its scarce
productivity, it yields a fairly prestigious oil. The olives are
large and black (2.5-3 grams).
Biancolilla (also called the Biancuzza, Bianchetta, Buscarino,
Jancuzza, Rizza, Signura). Cultivated prevalently in Sicily, its
broad branches produce a large yield of fruit and thus oil. Once
mature, the olives become yellow with pinkish accents and are medium
in size. Resistant against the cold, it is partially self-fertilizing
and is pollinated by Moresca and Zaituna varieties.
Bosana (also called the "Tondo del Sassarese). This variety is
typical of Sardinia, is highly productive and yields a large amount
of oil. The olive is small to medium in size (1.5 grams), resistant
to the cold and to plant parasites. It is sterile.
Canino (also called Caminese). Cultivated in the Latium
region, its medium yield of olives translates into a low yield of
oil. Sterile, it is resistant against parasites.
Carboncella (also called Carbognola, Carbona, Marsella,
Ritornella, Oliva tonda). Originally from Latium, it is also widely
diffused in the Marche and Abruzzi regions. The vigorous plant is
medium sized and produces bluish-black fruit weighing between 1.5 and
2 grams. The good, constant production produces a fair quality oil in
Casaliva (also called Drezzeri, gentle olive, Casaliva del
Garda). Originally from the Benaco area, it can be found in the
Lombardy, Veneto, Trentino and Friuli regions, and has a high
production of ovoid fruit weighing 2.5-3 grams.
Correggiolo (also called Raggiolo). Similar to the Frantoio
variety (see below), it is widely found in Tuscany, Umbria and the
Dritta (also called Loretana and Moscufese). Found above all
in Abruzzi, it is a vigorous and tall plant, producing a large
quantity of olives but medium yield of oil. The fruit weighs 2.5-3
grams. The plant is resistant against the cold and plant parasites,
sterile and pollinated by Gentile di Chieti and Leccino
Frantoio (also called Frantoiano, Grognolo, Raraggio, Razza).
Common in central Italy (particularly in Tuscany, Marche and Umbria)
and in the Lake Garda area, the tree is vigorous with sturdy foliage
and high productivity and yield of fine quality oil. The olives are
oblong and violet-pink tending towards red, weighing 2.5-3 grams.
Gentile di Chieti (also called Nostrana). Derived from the
Frantoio variety, it is cultivated in Abruzzi. The vigorous and
wide-spreading tree is very productive with a medium yield of good
quality oil. It is highly resistant to cold weather. The Gentile di
Larino variety can be found in the Molise region, whereas the Gentile
di Nizza variety is found in France.
Leccino (also called leccio). Originally from Tuscany, it is
diffused in Umbria, Marche, Latium. Its medium size with dense
foliage boasts a fair productivity of black olives weighing 2.5-3
grams, and a medium yield of oil. Resistant to the cold, it is
sterile and impollinated with Pendolino, Frantoio and Morchiaio
Moraiolo (also called Morello, Morinello, Morellina).
Originally Tuscan, it is also cultivated in Umbria. Its medium sized
tree produces small, round fruits weighing little more than 1 gram
and black when mature. With a medium-sized production of fruit, the
oil yield is medium to high. Sensitive to cold weather, it is sterile
and pollinated by the Pendolino variety.
Ogliarola Barese (also called Cima di Bitonto, Marinese,
Paesana). Cultivated in the Apulia, Campania and Basilicata regions,
its broad limbs and foliage produce a large quantity of medium-sized
fruit with medium to high oil yield. Resistant to the cold, it is
Ogliarola Messinese (also called Calamignara, Castriciana,
Ogliara, Paturnisa). Cultivated in Sicily, the tree is vigorous and
has high but inconsistent productivity. Its medium-sized fruit has a
high oil yield. The plant is self-fertilizing.
Olivastra Saggianese (also called Olivastrella). Cultivated in
Tuscany, it has a good level of productivity, a high oil yield and is
Passalunara (also called Palermitana). Originally from the
province of Palermo, its high productivity leads to a high oil yield,
and is sterile.
Pendolino (also called Principino). Cultivated in Tuscany and
Umbria, it is a tree of medium height with good productivity and
medium oil yield. Its small to medium sized fruits are light green
with traces of violet. Sterile, it is useful in pollinating other
Rosciola. Common in Latium and central Italy with medium
vigour and scarce development, it produces blackish-red fruits that
mature early with low but constant production levels and medium oil
yield. The self-fertilizing plant is robust and adapts to
Sargano (also called Sargana di Ascoli). This vigorous plant
can become very large, has dark violet fruits, high productivity and
medium oil yield. It is often used for alternating. It resists
against high winds and brackish water.
Taggiasca (also called Lavagnina). Widespread in the Ligurian
region, especially in the provinces of Savona and Imperia, its large
production of fruit is medium-sized, the olive yield is high and the
tree is self-fertilizing.
Bianca di Villacidro (also called Pizz'ecarroga). This
typical variety of Sardinia is cultivated mainly around Cagliari. The
vigorous plant has spare foliage, with high productivity and medium
Carolea (also called Caroleo, Catanzarese, Cumignana,
Olivone). This medium to large sized tree cultivated in Calabria
bears olives weighing 4 grams, at high production levels and medium
oil yield. It resists the cold, is sterile and is pollinated by the
Nocellara Messinese variety.
Coratina (also called Racioppa di Corato). Cultivated mainly
in Puglia and Molise, it has medium dimensions and upward pointing
branches. Its high production yields fruits weighing 4 grams and a
large quantity of oil. It is sterile.
Itrana (also called Cicerone, Getana, Trana, Oliva di
Esperia). Cultivated in Lazio, it's a vigorous plant,with high
production levels and medium oil yield. Fruits 3/4 grams. It is
Maiatica (also called Pasola). Cultivated mainly in
Basilicata, especially in Basento valley, its vigorous plant is
pendulous-limbed. Its good productivity leads to high oil yield. It
Moresca (also called Catanisia, Nerba, Maiorana, Reale,
Turdella). Common in Sicily, its vigorous plant is broad-limbed.
Asymmetric fruits are black when mature and weigh about 4 grams. Its
good productivity leads to medium oil yield. Sterile, it is
pollinated by Ogliarola, Messinese and Biancolilla.
Sweet: when the scent is graceful, gentle and not very
accentuated. It gives an initially light sensation accompanied by an
almond aftertaste. It should be neither too supple nor too sweet.
Bitter: usually a negative characteristic of oils produced by
sour olives, often accompanied by a hint of the leaf. With time it
can become woody. A light, slightly bitter aftertaste is not to be
Sharp: a typical flavour of fresh oils, accompanied usually by
a brilliant green colour, which fades until disappearing with the
passing of time.
Harmonious: it is said of a complete oil with no predominant
traces or flavours, and which is evident as soon as one tastes it. It
is the best quality.
Characteristic: it betrays in a strong way the character of
the area of cultivation or of the particular orchard. It is not
necessarily a defect, and often can be considered a positive
Aggressive: is said of a disharmonious oil, with one or more
excessively intense components which end up overpowering other
Oxidized: is said of a product which has been exposed to the
air for considerable amounts of time and thus has begun to become
rancid due to reaction with oxygen. It is immediately recognized and
no longer fit for consumption.
Flat: is said of a flat oil, excessively bland and oily.
Mature: describes a warm golden colour with a rotund body and
fruity flavour leaning towards the sweet.
Tired:Tired: evident in oils that are many months old.
Fruity: an oil is fruity when its flavour and aroma are
similar to that of a mature olive. All oils after pressing seem
fruity, but in most cases this characteristic disappears after a few
months. An authentically fruity oil maintains this characteristic
aroma through time.
Green leaf: a sensation obtained when in the press a small
quantity of fresh olive leaves are added.
Musky, nutty, woody: these are traces left by the oils, and
while may not be considered positive in the classic sense, are
frequently characteristics of oils of certain areas of production,
which are very pleasing when not overpowering.
Artichoke: a flavour which reminds one of a pleasant, fresh
Green: said of a young, fresh, fruity and slightly weedy
Soave: characteristic of very mature olives and pale gold in
colour. Aftertaste has a very palatable, sweet tendency.
Rotund: is said of an oil with a pasty body to it which fills
and satisfies without aromatic character - always from mature olives.
Moldy: an unpleasant trace consequence of the use of
unhealthy or fermented olives due to excessive storage in
Rancid: a very unpleasant flavour due to oxidation caused by
heat or exposure to light or air. It can also be caused by the use of
poorly cleaned containers.
Fiscolo: caused by the use of filtering panels which are not
perfectly cleaned, and brings to mind hemp.
Dreggish: recalls the odor of warm lubricating oil and is
caused by the poor or lacking execution of the decanting process.
Olearic Fly: oil from fruit stricken by this insect: the
flavour is both rotten and putrid at the same time.
Metalic: easily individualized, it is caused by the use of
unprotected or ionized iron machines or recipients.
Impersonal: a serious defect for virgin oil, because it means
it has neither character nor personality. It is a trait common in all
Poor conservation: the oil absorbs the odors and flavours of
everything surrounding it even if not in direct contact. It is a very
Dirty: it is said of oils which have absorbed the unpleasant
odors and flavours of the vegetation waters with which they have
remained in contact for too long.
Phenic acid: pertaining to poorly kept very old oils.
Bitter: a trait produced by olives that are unripe and with
Warmth: due to the fermentation of olives kept too long in
Frozen: due to olives which have been exposed to freezing
temperatures. When cooked, this oil gives off very unpleasant
Lampantino: oil which should be sent to a refinery. When it
does not present awful organic characteristics, it can be edible.
The benefits from olive oil consumption for the human organism are
- Reduces the level of LDL cholesterol
- Reduces the blockage of arteries
- Reduces the blood pressure of arteries
- Reduces the level of blood sugar
- Increases the secretion of bile
- Increases the absorption of Vitamins A, D and E
- Facilitates the absorption of other vitamins
- Prevents arteriosclerosis
- Prevents myocardium heart attack