It is certified
by the history, that the oil cultivation dates back to 6.000 years ago,
Some traditional tales, together with religious books and archeological
discoveries, bear witness of this fact. The tree comes probably from
Syria, where it was transformed from wild plant into a domestic one.
From Syria it got the Islands of Egeo Sea, the sunny hills of the ANATOLIA,
in order to be transplanted in Greece, where it found an unexpected
luck and application.
The Greeks, probably, planted the olive-trees on the coast lands of
Apulia, Calabria, Sicily and Campania.
Someone maintains that the first Italian region, where this tree has
been cultivated, was the Liguria. The tree was brought here surely by
the Crusaders, after the year 1000, because they had known it in Palestina.
Most of the credit which permitted the olive tree to survive in Italy
was attributed to some religious monastic orders.
Some peasants and agricultural workers, in fact, wanted to leave the
countries where they had worked for centuries, so the monks tried to
persuade them to remain and to dedicate themselves to more profitable
coltures, like the olive trees for example, in order to let them free
from deep poverty conditions. That fact influenced todays' countries
too, where the cultivation of the olive tree is one of the most important
of the Mediterrranean Sea.
The beauty of the olive tree is often celebrated by the Authors of the
Old Testament and it is considered a Holy plant by many People, not
only for its caloric aspect, but also because it is a long-live tree,
resisting during the time.
However, the Jews considered it a symbol, explained also in the "Dove's
tale", that came back to the Noah's Ark with an olive-branch in
The oil was a wealth, happiness and friendship image, characterized
by a strenght and wisdom symbol. Who lived in those countries had surely
a great richness: the olive tree. They ate its raw fruits, its excellent
oil, and they used it in medicine, too, as a cosmetic product and like
an help for the massages and the ointments of the Sovereigns. It has
also a curious use: people made soaps with the olive-tree. However,
the oil always remained a rare and refined nourishment, which not everybody
could have. Its great alimentary value remained valuable during the
time, till nowadays.
the Antiquity the oil was obtained in the following way: after the harvesting,
the first operation, the pulp should be separated from the hazel-tree;
as the olive skin is strong enough, the separation was made by the crushing
of the fruit, which was pressed, then. Subsequently, they could made
a second and a third pressing, too, and each of them had an inferior
quality if compared with the first one. In this way, they obtained three
different kinds of oil: the first quality was used to cook, while the
two others had a cosmetic use. During the Antiquity, they used also
another way to obtain an high quality oil, that we call today "Extravergine",
obtained without pressing: the olives were put inside a sort of basket,
from which the oil fall down drop by drop in a container. Otherwise,
the high quantity of olives was put in a rocky dome place, from where
the oil strained through a hole down. In both cases, the weight of the
olives pressed themselves.