The legendary olive tree and the oil extracted from its fruit have accompanied the human history. Eight thousands years ago the olive tree was already cultivated in in the Middle east and the first cultivations were probably in Siria or Crete. The Phoenician afterwards spread this cultivation throughout the Mediterranean, the African and the South European coasts. With the Greek the olive cultivations became more and more numerous, but the Romans were the ones that tried to cultivate this polyvalent fruit in every conquered territory (neglecting in some cases the existant cultivations in Southern Italy).
In many cases the Romans ordered the conquered populations the payment of levies in the form of olive oil. The Romans were also the first ones to build the first instruments necessary for the squeezing of the olives and to improve more and more the techniques to preserve the oil. The ancient Romans used to classify olive oil in five qualities : “oleum ex albis ulivis” coming from the pressing of green olives, “oleum viride” coming from the olives gathered up at a more mature phase, “oleum maturum” coming from mature olives, “oleum caducum” coming from fallen olives and “oleum cibarium” coming from almost withered olives destined for the feeding of slaves.
Since the beginning of time the olive tree and its fruit has been present in man’s history in both religiuos rites and everyday life, in fact oil was used not only to enrich alimentation but also for massages and cosmetics.In Homeric poems oil was exclusively used for the cleaning and hygiene.
The numerous tools necessary for the harvesting and the pressing of the olives, found in various archaelogical excavation sites in the Mediterranean area, as well as different passages of the Bible and of the Koran demonstrate the historical importance of this fruit and of man’s work.
Even at the dawn of the Third Millennium olive oil is still a product full of mysticism and above all a fundamental component of the famous Mediterranean diet which is a trend that many experts certify to be the healthilly beneficial.