After a long day in the Italian sunshine, there’s no better way to relax than to find a little bar in a medieval mountain hamlet and sit in the shade sipping a refreshing glass of… olive oil. Honest! Many visitors now choose to organise whole holidays around sampling the various distinctive local varieties of oil, not wine, produced in this ancient agricultural land. DOP, or ‘protected destination of origin’ olive oils are harvested only in specific locations, just like champagne or prosciutto di parma. Those who don’t fancy sipping the deep green, cloudy liquid neat can try theirs drizzled on bruschetta, but the true professionals use small glasses for purity of taste.
Olive oil tasting is best in November, when olives are harvested and new oil pressed. The ‘olive oil road’ stretches from Venice to Sicily, and there are plenty of guides and experts around to help you on your tour.
- Experience every step of olive oil production with Le Baccanti tours. Your day begins with a visit to an olive oil press, followed by a testing session under the tutelage of an expert guide. At the end, you can choose to have your favourite varieties shipped to your home address to make sure you don’t forget the real thing.
- Taste the extra virgin olive produced in Lucca with a tasting at Fattoria di Fubbiano. Consistently rated among the best olive oils in the world, you can tour the farm and the XVII-century villa and learn all about the process. They also make excellent wine here too, so you’ll get two experiences in one!
- International olive oil judge Johnny Madge believes the best olive oil in the world is found in the historic Sabina hills of Lazio. He offers the opportunity to taste at least two oils to anyone popping into his Casperia wine bar, Gecko 107, and also leads minibus tours of local olive groves and working oil presses with tastings.
- Visit one of the world’s oldest olive trees, (over 2000 years old!) on this tour from Toffia in the Sabina region of Lazio. Convivio tours take in organic olive oil groves with magnificent views, learning about the different processes and uses for olive oil, before ending with a tasting.
- Umbria in November is a festival of oil, with Spoleto, Spello, Campello sul Clitunno, and Castiglione del Lago among the historic Umbrian towns joining in Frantoi Aperti, or ‘Open Oil Mills’. Over five weekends, the frantoi welcome visitors to view their machinery, from traditional to high-tech, and taste the newly pressed olive oil.
- Discovering Umbria offer a range of tours to take in the very best of this iconic olive-oil area, covering different locations, tastings and even olive picking. You can experience these tours year-round, but we’d highly recommend late-summer and autumn to see it at its best.
Many of our luxury villas to rent are perfectly placed if you’re planning a tour of the oil mills in Italy’s heartland. Whichever one of our charming and unique Lazio, Umbria or Tuscany villas you choose to stay in, make sure you venture out into the olive groves to experience this unique aspect of Italian cuisine.
Have we made you curious about this great Olive Oil tasting experience? Don’t wait longer and find your perfect holiday villa in Italy! Contact our concierge for more information, we are happy to assist you to arrange your unforgettable holiday!