Europe

In Italy, Hiking Through the Olive Groves

Italy's third annual “Walk through the olive trees” combines heart-healthy exercise with the chance to learn about production and taste local extra virgin olive oils.

Dec. 4, 2019
By Ylenia Granitto

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The third Walk Through the Olive Trees”, orga­nized by the National Asso­ci­a­tion Città dell’Olio (National Asso­ci­a­tion Olive Oil Cities) at the end of Octo­ber, was con­sid­ered a big suc­cess with thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants.

Olive groves and mills marked the stages of walk­ing itin­er­aries, which included places of his­tor­i­cal and oth­ers of envi­ron­men­tal value across Italy and offered hik­ers the oppor­tu­nity to explore the world of extra vir­gin olive oil, through pro­duc­tion ter­ri­to­ries and farm­ers in 17 regions.

Walk­ing in olive areas def­i­nitely con­tributes to a sense of inner peace. The pres­ence of these beau­ti­ful trees has a sooth­ing effect.- Lucia Crapolic­chio, Fit­walk­ing Andria Cam­mina

Thanks to the col­lab­o­ra­tion of more than 100 local author­i­ties, which orga­nized the itin­er­aries, and the pro­duc­ers, who are the keep­ers of the olive oil cul­ture, we suc­ceeded in pre­sent­ing our ter­ri­to­ries, crafts, tra­di­tions, and tastes to many par­tic­i­pants, and their response was enthu­si­as­tic,” the pres­i­dent of the Città dell’Olio, Enrico Lupi said.

Beyond being a way to pro­mote olive oil tourism, this ini­tia­tive def­i­nitely fits in with a trend of recent years which has led the trend fore­cast­ing com­pany WGSN to include hik­ing among the It’ fit­ness activ­i­ties of 2019.

See more: Olive Oil Health Ben­e­fits

How­ever, what the trend experts define as the new yoga,” due to the plus points of recon­nec­tion with nature and high Insta­gram­a­bil­ity,” is not just the lat­est fad but also pro­vides many ben­e­fits.

It was already known that out­door walk­ing group pro­grams could be endorsed through green pre­scrip­tions” to improve psy­cho­log­i­cal and emo­tional well-being, and it has been recently demon­strated that walk­ing through for­est areas reduces neg­a­tive emo­tions, while pro­mot­ing a pos­i­tive mood with a sig­nif­i­cant impact on anx­i­ety lev­els.

Olive groves have proved to be beau­ti­fully suited for those who want to enjoy all of these ben­e­fits.

Walk­ing in olive areas def­i­nitely con­tributes to a sense of inner peace,” Lucia Crapolic­chio, founder and instruc­tor at Fit­walk­ing Andria Cam­mina, said. The pres­ence of these beau­ti­ful trees has a sooth­ing effect.”

Her group attended the Walk through the olive trees” in the area of Andria, enjoy­ing the beauty of flour­ish­ing trees laden with sound dru­pes of Coratina olives, the late-ripen­ing vari­ety typ­i­cal of the area.

We par­tic­i­pated with other sports asso­ci­a­tions and orga­nized a fundraiser for local char­i­ties, adding fur­ther pos­i­tive ele­ments to a very enjoy­able and use­ful expe­ri­ence,” she said.

Crapolic­chio also high­lighted that walk­ing is ben­e­fi­cial to health, reduc­ing risk of heart dis­ease and stroke, improv­ing the man­age­ment of con­di­tions such as hyper­ten­sion, high cho­les­terol, and high blood sugar, as well as strength­en­ing mus­cles and bones.

Reg­u­lar exer­cise, con­sist­ing of an hour walk­ing at a speed of at least six kilo­me­ters (3.7 miles) per hour, can become a real sports activ­ity,” she said.

Along with exer­cis­ing the heart, leg and back mus­cles, hik­ing in the olive trees also pos­i­tively impacts men­tal health, Erika Moranti, one of the day’s hik­ing guides, said.

Walk­ing in nature is com­pletely sus­tain­able and has innu­mer­able pos­i­tive effects both on body and mind, greatly reduc­ing stress lev­els,” she said. Yet, walk­ing through the olive trees has been a some­what spe­cial expe­ri­ence.”

Her group hiked in Tus­cany, from Cas­tel del Piano to Monte Giovi, along a path char­ac­ter­ized by light climbs and descents, at the end of which there is a mill.

Many chil­dren took part in the walk, and this shows how this activ­ity is fam­ily-friendly, espe­cially if car­ried out in safe con­di­tions like those of an olive grove,” she said

Mor­ganti added that this kind of expe­ri­ence, gives you the pos­si­bil­ity to bet­ter under­stand­ing the ter­ri­tory, through the agri­cul­tural and food cul­ture, with the high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil at the core.”

The grow­ing inter­est in hik­ing of recent years was noted by the hik­ing guide, Mario Mal­in­verno.

Many peo­ple started to walk in nature, as it can be con­sid­ered a sports activ­ity which has many perks, and, fur­ther­more, the effects on the spirit are extra­or­di­nary,” he said.

Dur­ing the event orga­nized by Città dell’Olio, his group walked in the area char­ac­ter­ized by the Oli­vas­tra Seg­gianese, a vari­ety which is deeply linked with the ter­ri­tory, cul­ti­vated at the foothills of the Mount Ami­ata thanks to a good resis­tance to low tem­per­a­tures.

The increas­ingly higher qual­ity of pro­duc­tion is a good rea­son to deepen our knowl­edge of these beau­ti­ful olive farms and their groves, where one can walk, become aware of farm­ing meth­ods and, dur­ing the breaks, taste prod­ucts,” Mal­in­verno said. Walk­ing though the olive trees can be a pleas­ant vari­a­tion of hik­ing with a deli­cious and worth­while added value.”





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