For more than 10 thousand years, olive
trees have found their ideal habitat in Apulia that thanks
to the patience and care of local people has now become a
huge olive grove with more than 40 million trees accounting
for 2/5 of all Italian olive-oil production. Extra-virgin
olive oil is a refined nectar considered as the symbol and
the banner of Apulia in the world, which by right was granted
the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the European
A journey through the "Routes
of oil", in the homeland of one of the oldest and most
valuable oils in Italia, shall take place amid the hospitality
of white rural homesteads and ancient oil mills, where you
may taste the magic of an uncontaminated landscape, immersed
in the joy given by wine savoured in a friendly environment
and surrounded by the history of architecture. Endless rows
of ancient olive trees whose twisted trunks, on a par with
sculptures, frame the land where age-old buildings stand out.
To live here means to live in close touch with the natural
agricultural production cycles and olive oil-making traditions,
handed down from father to son for centuries.
Following itineraries that link together wine-making and oil
farms you will have the opportunity to become familiar with
the organisation, visit the places and taste excellent oil
produced using cold-pressing techniques handed down from father
to son. The "Route of oil" follows a pathway that
winds down from Bari and Brindisi to the Valle d'Itria, whereby
you may learn something more about the history of oil production
thanks to the museums mounted in ancient homesteads near Fasano.
The aim of holiday farms and oil mills
who have joined this initiative is to make tourists and travellers
become familiar with the richness of this land in terms of
produce, art, cuisine and history.
Hence, an unconventional holiday marked
by enchanted tastes and places, intentionally far from mass
tourism circuits. Located at the feet of the steep hill that
abruptly interrupts Murgia tableland, a few kilometres from
the beach and the archaeological area of Egnatia, Fasano is
marked by ancient oil-milling tradition.
Oil-milling is handed down from father
to son, insomuch that one of the most modern oil mills of
the area still offers refined products using some of the most
peculiar olive varieties such as coratina, ogliarola and leccina
which are cold-pressed just after harvest using granite milestones.
Fasano is also famous for the countless homesteads dating
from the late Renaissance and Baroque, real "farms and
oil mills" on which the entire economic and social life
of rural communities rested, often fortified and used as strongholds
to avert the risk of pirate and bandit plundering.
In one of these complexes, just 1 km
from built-up areas, you may admire the Olive oil Museum,
S.Angelo dei Graecis, where ancient and traditional millstones
once operated by animals to sort out stones are preserved,
in addition to mahogany presses used to fill fiscoli for pressing,
oil tanks and other tools used to tell the history of oil
production over time. The first stop of the PDO Route of Oil
Collina di Brindisi, regards the city of Ostuni.
Clung to a rock at the extreme edge of southern Murgia, Ostuni
is commonly referred to as the "white city" owing
to the whitewashed buildings that are typical of the city
centre, in addition to the "Queen of Olives" for
the age-old olive grove.
The rocky land on which the city is built, with evident karstic
characteristics, is marked by a great number of caves, which
were used as meditation places by Christian communities, but
also as natural oil mills that set the stage for oil production
started in this area. Within these oil mills, some ten people
were pressing olives on an ongoing basis. Once crossed the
cramped threshold of these mills at the beginning of October,
workers left the rooms only in June of the following year.
Each of them performed different tasks, some looked after
the animals that drew the beam of the pressing tank, some
looked after the "fucagna" (ancient kitchen that
was always lit), and some others were responsible for pressing
and coconut and cane fiscoli that were filled with an oily
paste, in addition to the so-called "supervisor"
who monitored the entire process.
Located in the middle of Valle d'Itria
in a plain of olive groves going down to the sea, Cisternino
was referred to as a "great architectural masterpiece
with no architects". A city grown with a tradition and
a culture aimed at the genuineness of products and in particular
olive oil, insomuch that oil produced in this areas is referred
as the extra-virgin "Drop", whose valuableness is
strictly related to a pressing process typical of this area.
Olives are sorted out and washed, then defoliated and pressed
to obtain a soft paste; vegetation waters are used to get
a limited amount of extra-virgin olive oil that represents
the "flower", the so-called "drop" of
the products that is then naturally separated, decanted, and
bottled. Another museum that is worth mentioning is the olive
oil museum of San Vito dei Normanni, which is considered to
be the symbol of the Route of oil, the deepest tribute of
the community to the age-old tradition that shrouds this business.
In this museum, tools and utensils do "talk" about
the assets of our land, as a true evidence of the hard work
which has now become common heritage to all future generations.
Along the province of Brindisi, the heart of central Apulia, you may find the most important masserie (homesteads) of the region, especially owing to the first settlements of Benedictine monks that took place here more than six hundred years ago; the countryside is rich in ancient olive groves many of which are more than 500 years old; in this rich land, you may find countless homesteads and oil mills whose owners are ready to welcome you. Besides, a journey through history can take place with the help of olive oil museums. Going up from the sea to the Murge plateau, you may find the signs of prehistory, the Roman rule, Normans and Suabians, from the Byzantine period to the Baroque.
-San vito dei normanni
-San michele salentino