Cultivation of olives has deep roots in history. Its origin can be traced to Asia Minor, more precisely the Caucasian area, Iranian upland, Syrian and Palestinian coasts, then into the Mediterranean area. The tree which produces olives is known to have been cultivated around the Mediterranean about 6,000 years ago.
In Italy, it was spread by Etruscans and Romans. The latter developed its cultivation and commerce, classifying plants and marketable oils. Oil was considered an important symbol of richness.
With the fall of Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions olives became rare, and was reserved for religious uses and a select few people. In the Middle Ages oil became central to our agricultural and business culture, while today the olive is still one of the most important elements of Mediterranean landscape. This cultivation is present in the entire area, mainly concentrated in Spain, Tunisia, Greece, Morocco and Italy.
Among the oils produced in the Mediterranean area, the Italian oil is the more appreciated one. Moreover, among the different Italian regions, Umbria is the only one having protected designation of origin (PDO) countrywide. Even in the third millennium the olive still is an essential plant from which the precious oil is produced.
Everybody knows the great value and the infinite beneficial properties of oil: it is the finest element of the famous Mediterranean diet, has health benefits, and used in cosmetics.