`Umbrian Villages Steeped in Olive Oil Culture Promote New Tourism Initiative - Olive Oil Times

Umbrian Villages Steeped in Olive Oil Culture Promote New Tourism Initiative

Mar. 29, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Local olive trees have been planted along the edge of an oleo­tourism trail in the cen­tral Italian region of Umbria, which con­nects a grow­ing num­ber of munic­i­pal­i­ties with the region’s Protected Designation of Origin sta­tus.

When the first such ini­tia­tive was launched last year, the goal was to cel­e­brate health and olive oil cul­ture in the after­math of the Covid-19 pan­demic.

I believe that given its spe­cial pro­duc­ing pro­file and the high qual­ity of the prod­uct chain, Umbria could be con­sid­ered the Burgundy of the Italian olive oil, with its excep­tion­ally high qual­ity and intact land­scape, while being full of beauty.- Paolo Morbidoni , pres­i­dent, Strada dell’Olio EvO Dop Umbria

This year, the new edi­tion of the Olive trees of rebirth” ini­tia­tive is meant to pro­mote peace. The Strada dell’Olio EvO Dop Umbria asso­ci­a­tion, which sup­ports local olive oil pro­duc­tion and oleo­tourism, pub­lished con­tem­po­rary poems close to each new tree.

The works were selected by the lit­er­a­ture expert Costanza Ferrini, founder of the In the shade of the Mediterranean” cul­tural asso­ci­a­tion. The poems were writ­ten by poets from dif­fer­ent coun­tries join­ing to sup­port peace.

See Also:New Rules in Italy Set Standards for Oleotourism Operators

The olive tree is a highly resilient plant asso­ci­ated with sig­nif­i­cant sym­bol­ism, even more in Umbria where it stands within the walls of ancient groves or scat­tered through the hilly land­scape,” Paolo Morbidoni, pres­i­dent of Strada dell’Olio EvO Dop Umbria, told Olive Oil Times. It has been the com­pan­ion and the inspi­ra­tion of the works of man, from St. Francis of Assisi to Aldo Capitini.”

The new trees have been cel­e­brated with songs and poetry read­ings and posi­tioned in squares and other highly vis­i­ble loca­tions in the Umbrian vil­lages tak­ing part in the ini­tia­tive.

According to the asso­ci­a­tion, the poetry con­tri­bu­tions asso­ci­ated with the trees cre­ated an olive-cen­tric lit­er­ary touris­tic and cul­tural route.


It is a way to say that nature does not stop today, nei­ther does hope,” Morbidoni said. The authors are all liv­ing poets, as we are cel­e­brat­ing life and peace. Even a young extra­or­di­nary Ukrainian-born poet who could not be here but heartily par­tic­i­pated in the ini­tia­tive.”

The asso­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent cited the words of Theodosis Nikolau, a Cypriot poet whose works were pub­lished close to the olive tree of rebirth planted in the Todi munic­i­pal­ity: I have seen day­light is for joy, night for tears. Still, she is also mother for the new day.”

Those are beau­ti­ful words that remind us that time and pass­ing sea­sons are the arche­types of every new begin­ning, after the dark­ness, after the win­ters,” Morbidoni said. As long as we plant trees, seeds and words, we will remain human. And in our tragic times, with a war occur­ring in Europe, the mean­ing of those words is even stronger.”

The asso­ci­a­tion added how the Goccia di Massa Martana, a rare indige­nous vari­ety, is among the trees that have been planted. The tree was first dis­cov­ered in an aban­doned vine­yard, and researchers believe it has ancient roots in the area sur­round­ing the vil­lage.

Among the lat­est munic­i­pal­i­ties par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ini­tia­tive is Lugnano, a vil­lage in the Tevere River Valley that has been home to the Olea Mundi inter­na­tional museum since 2014. In the museum, more than 1,200 olive trees have been col­lected. They come from more than 400 vari­eties and were con­tributed by 23 coun­tries.

According to the asso­ci­a­tion, the Olive tree of the rebirth” ini­tia­tive demon­strates the spe­cial con­nec­tion that these local com­mu­ni­ties have with olive oil. The olive tree is ingrained in the essence of the local soci­ety and can eas­ily be wit­nessed by the oleo­tourist, the asso­ci­a­tion said.

See Also:Rome Joins Olive Oil Tourism Network Città dell’Olio

For exam­ple, in Assisi, a small door through the church­yard walls at the St. Francis Basilica brings the vis­i­tor to fas­ci­nat­ing ancient woods where olive trees have thrived for cen­turies. Artwork cut from olive wood made by the con­tem­po­rary artist, Pistoletto, is also on dis­play.

A few kilo­me­ters south, in Amelia, a walled town of pre-Roman ori­gin, an olive tree is placed on the friezes of a mar­ble slab dated two mil­len­nia ago.

And in many lit­tle vil­lages such as Giano, Trevi or the Trasimeno Lake area, it is still pos­si­ble to find mil­len­nia-old olive trees, true liv­ing mon­u­ments,” Morbidoni said.

He added how the asso­ci­a­tion has been pro­mot­ing olive oil cul­ture and tourism for decades, with ini­tia­tives such as the Frantoi Aperti (open olive oil mills), one of the sig­nif­i­cant Italian events held dur­ing the har­vest­ing sea­son.


Photo: Orvietosì

I believe that given its spe­cial pro­duc­ing pro­file and the high qual­ity of the prod­uct chain, Umbria could be con­sid­ered the Burgundy of the Italian olive oil, with its excep­tion­ally high qual­ity and intact land­scape, while being full of beauty,” said Morbidoni.

According to the asso­ci­a­tion, every sea­son has some­thing unique to offer to vis­i­tors inter­ested in Umbrian olive oil cul­ture.

In autumn, you have to start with the oil mills, which open the door to the taste of new olive oil,” Morbidoni said. Within the Frantoi Aperti ini­tia­tive, this jour­ney can be enriched with cul­tural expe­ri­ences, sam­ples of con­tem­po­rary art, music or with a visit to unusual places.”

Spring or sum­mer is ideal for walks, tast­ings and dis­cov­er­ing the coun­try­side.

Then, you can eat in one of the 35 extra vir­gin olive oil ambas­sadors of Umbria, restau­rants that actively sup­port local extra vir­gin olive oil,” Morbidoni said. From there, one can eas­ily reach the olive farms to meet the pro­duc­ers [of the EVOO tasted in the restau­rant]. And if the tourist comes in win­ter, then olive oil will sing on bread baked by the embers in the fire­places.”

The Umbrian ini­tia­tive comes as olive grow­ers and touris­tic enti­ties through­out Italy get ready for the final imple­men­ta­tion by the regional author­i­ties of the recent Italian law on oleo­tourism.


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