Matera, Italy

Walking through the small streets of this ancient town in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy, you can feel the joy and enthusiasm again, as it was in 1993, when Matera was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Then, Matera, the City of Stones, whose melancholic beauty is reminiscent of old times, has been chosen as European Capital of Culture for 2019.

An recently, Enrico Lupi, the chairman of association of olive oil municipalities Città dell’Olio announced at the end of a meeting with Matera’s Chamber of Commerce that the national assembly of the association will be held here next July.

This city with its old houses carved in the rock, dating back to the Palaeolithic age, with the aroma in the streets of freshly baked bread, seems to be a perfect location for the meeting of the association which protects and promotes olive oil culture and tradition. Basilicata has 15 members of “Città dell’Olio.”

This city is back in the spotlight for its traditions, including its olive oil, whose taste is not as well-known as some others.

Support for the event has been expressed by Angelo Tortorelli, the president of the local Chamber of commerce: “The National Assembly of the Olive Oil Cities,” said Tortorelli, “is an important event for a further development of tourism but also to raise the awareness of the importance of healthy eating and cooking. Gourmets and food experts will appreciate the taste of our extra virgin olive oil from varieties such as Majatica and Ogliarola.”

“This is an invitation to companies which would like to work in this direction in order to strengthen the actions taken with a special focus on quality,” Tortorelli added. “Matera 2019, will be the European capital of olive oil culture and of healthy and genuine food.”

It is a magic moment for this city illuminated by the first lights of a new beginning in the name of olive oil tradition and its future.

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