Olive Oil Production Continues at Historic Home of Emperor Hadrian

The annual production of centuries and millennia-old olive trees promotes Villa Adriana’s historical and cultural importance to Italy’s capital region.

Apr. 25, 2022
By Ylenia Granitto

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The extra vir­gin olive oil known as Olea Hadriani (Latin for Hadrian’s Oil) has long been pro­duced from the olive trees spread over the Villa Adriana archae­o­log­i­cal area in Tivoli, near Rome. Last year, the oil was included in the PGI Olio di Roma label.

This year’s pro­duc­tion of Olea Hadriani results from a part­ner­ship between Villae, the insti­tute that con­sists of the com­plexes of Villa Adriana and neigh­bor­ing Villa D’Este, Coldiretti Lazio and Unaprol, the Italian asso­ci­a­tion of olive oil pro­duc­ers.

Our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Villae for the val­oriza­tion of the his­toric olive grove rep­re­sents the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of his­tory and inno­va­tion.- David Granieri, pres­i­dent, Unaprol

The part­ner­ship’s goal is to pro­tect and add value to the olive grove located in the 120-hectare estate built in the 2nd cen­tury AD by the Roman emperor Hadrian.

I felt respon­si­ble for sus­tain­ing and increas­ing the beauty of the world,” Hadrian is quoted as say­ing in Marguerite Yourcenar’s 1951 his­toric novel Memoirs of Hadrian, which sig­nif­i­cantly con­tributed to mak­ing him one of the most influ­en­tial char­ac­ters of Roman his­tory.

See Also:Sicily’s Monumental Olive Trees Provide Window Into Island’s History

His fame was fur­ther bol­stered by the long period of peace in the empire dur­ing his reign from 117 to 138 AD.

The pro­tec­tion of this his­tor­i­cal, artis­tic and archae­o­log­i­cal her­itage has major impli­ca­tions of envi­ron­men­tal, social, cul­tural and eco­nomic nature,” said Andrea Bruciati, the direc­tor of Villae. He also empha­sized the impor­tance of safe­guard­ing the his­toric olive tree pat­ri­mony.

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Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Villa Adriana is con­sid­ered a mas­ter­piece that uniquely brings together the high­est forms of expres­sion of the mate­r­ial cul­tures of the ancient Mediterranean world.”

Combining Egyptian, Greek and Roman archi­tec­tural ele­ments, the majes­tic prop­erty includes build­ings, pools and ther­mal baths sep­a­rated by gar­dens and orchards that con­tain a wealth of bio­di­ver­sity.

Seven olive vari­eties, some of which are rare eco­types, are found on the estate, where 3,500 cen­turies-old trees are incor­po­rated into the remains, cre­at­ing a unique land­scape.

While many trees are from the 18th cen­tury, the most ancient one dates back to the 13th cen­tury. Known as Albero Bello, the tree is con­sid­ered the patri­arch of Villa Adriana. Due to its vast dimen­sions and plen­ti­ful pro­duc­tion, it was pos­si­ble to bot­tle an exclu­sive mono­va­ri­etal obtained from its fruits.

Our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Villae for the val­oriza­tion of the his­toric olive grove rep­re­sents the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of his­tory and inno­va­tion,” said David Granieri, the pres­i­dent of Unaprol and national vice pres­i­dent of Coldiretti.

The mix of food, tourism and cul­ture remains unbeat­able. As the con­cept of qual­ity grows, extra vir­gin olive oil is increas­ingly becom­ing an attrac­tive ele­ment in the tourism sec­tor,” he con­cluded.



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