Rome Joins Olive Oil Tourism Network Città dell'Olio

The Italian capital has formally joined Città dell'Olio to promote olive oil culture, oleotourism and the restoration of abandoned groves.
By Paolo DeAndreis
Mar. 7, 2022 12:11 UTC

The munic­i­pal­ity of Rome is join­ing the Italian net­work, Città dell’Olio, an asso­ci­a­tion that includes more than 400 olive-grow­ing munic­i­pal­i­ties in Italy.

According to offi­cials in the Italian cap­i­tal, the ini­tia­tive will pro­mote olive oil cul­ture and olive oil tourism to offer new oppor­tu­ni­ties to local pro­duc­ers, farm­houses and tourist venues.

(This deci­sion) will also encour­age social agri­cul­ture and the intro­duc­tion of good prac­tices, which are inno­v­a­tive and sus­tain­able.- Città dell’Olio, 

This should not come as a sur­prise since Rome, and olive oil are his­tor­i­cally con­nected by a voca­tion and a mil­len­nial-long his­tory,” Sabrina Alfonsi, Rome’s sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture, envi­ron­ment and waste man­age­ment, told Olive Oil Times.

Olive oil has been one of the pil­lars of the Roman econ­omy since the 7th Century BCE,” she added.

See Also:Value of PDO and PGI Olive Oil Production Drops in Italy

The announce­ment comes on the heels of sev­eral ini­tia­tives from the recent nation-wide oleo­tourism law which offers olive grow­ers and farm­houses new oppor­tu­ni­ties to broaden the scope of their activ­i­ties.

Officials said join­ing Città dell’Olio is a step toward their new food pol­icy approach, which is par­tially based on the so-called Fusilli ini­tia­tive.

According to a state­ment, Fusilli aims to achieve an inte­grated and safe holis­tic tran­si­tion toward healthy, sus­tain­able, secure, inclu­sive and cost-effi­cient food sys­tems” in line with the European Union’s Food 2030 pol­icy, which is focused on healthy and sus­tain­able diets and the sus­tain­abil­ity and effi­ciency of the food sys­tems.

The con­nec­tion to these roots aims to enhance this fun­da­men­tal food of the Mediterranean diet as an engine of eco­nomic and tourist devel­op­ment of our munic­i­pal­ity,” Alfonsi said.

Today, our city is exper­i­ment­ing with the pro­duc­tion and the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of local qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced both in our agri­cul­tural estate in [the nearby town of] Castel di Guido and in the 189 olive trees present in the arche­o­log­i­cal park of the Colosseum,” she added.

The extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced in the Colosseum arche­o­log­i­cal area on Palatine Hill is now known as Palatino extra vir­gin olive oil. It is part of a project to recover and under­stand the com­plex rela­tion­ship devel­oped through the ages between human set­tle­ments and veg­e­ta­tion.

When Ancient Rome’s expan­sion reached this area, the marshes around the hill were reclaimed, and the rich­est fam­i­lies began build­ing their vil­las and plant­ing their orchards on the top of it,” Gabriella Strano, the land­scape archi­tect of the Colosseum Archeological Park, told Olive Oil Times in a May 2021 inter­view.

Recently, the European Union rec­og­nized the Olio di Roma PGI, a new Protected Geographical Indication that includes all five provinces of the Lazio region, and an annual pro­duc­tion of about 10,500 tons.

There are also four pre-exist­ing extra vir­gin olive oil Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) areas in the region, which city offi­cials said will gain fur­ther vis­i­bil­ity due to the renewed con­nec­tion with the ancient Italian cap­i­tal.

When the PGI was debated in 2018, the National Olive Growers’ Consortium and its allies argued that it would devalue pro­duc­ers in the four PDO regions.

A PDO cer­ti­fi­ca­tion indi­cates that an extra vir­gin olive oil’s prop­er­ties are deter­mined by its geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion and nat­ural and human fac­tors.

A PGI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, on the other hand, indi­cates that at least one part of the process takes place in the des­ig­nated area. As a result, the lat­ter tends to cover a broader swath of ter­ri­tory than the for­mer.

The recog­ni­tion of the Olio di Roma PGI by the E.U. does not over­lap with ter­ri­to­ries, such as Tuscia and Sabina, which have always pro­duced excel­lent olive oil but rather pro­vides them if they wish, an umbrella, rep­re­sented by the Roma brand, which could offer them advan­tages, espe­cially for exports,” Alfonsi said.

North of Rome, in the north­west­ern quad­rant of Lazio, most pro­duc­ers are mem­bers of the Canino PDO con­sor­tium, which is known for the local Canino vari­ety grown in the land of the Torlonia fam­ily, an ancient Roman fam­ily.

Other than Canino, local PDO pro­duc­ers grow Leccino, Pendolino, Frantoio and Maurino olives.

Frantoio, Canino and Leccino are also the main cul­ti­vars of Tuscia PDO extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­tion in the north­east­ern quad­rant of Lazio.

To the east of the Italian cap­i­tal, Sabina PDO pro­duc­ers grow Carboncella, Leccino, Raja, Pendolino, Moraiolo, Frantoio, Olivastrone, Salviana and Olivago e Rosciola olives.

South of Rome, in the Colline Pontine PDO area, pro­duc­ers spe­cial­ize in the Itrana, Frantoio and Leccino vari­eties.

In a state­ment, Città dell’Olio cel­e­brated Rome’s deci­sion to join the asso­ci­a­tion as his­toric” and said it would help com­bat the aban­don­ment of olive groves and agri­cul­tural lands and pro­mote olive oil tourism and the local expe­ri­ences con­nected to extra vir­gin olive oil.”

It will also encour­age social agri­cul­ture and the intro­duc­tion of good prac­tices, which are inno­v­a­tive and sus­tain­able,” they added.

I do believe that the olive oil sec­tor might con­sti­tute a rel­e­vant devel­op­ment for our city,” Alfonsi con­cluded.


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