The history of olive oil is an intricate part of Italian culture that goes back to the dawn of ages and is closely tied to human history. The olive that Columella defines as the most important among all trees “olea prima omnium arborum est” is native to Asia Minor, specifically Armenia.
In all of the civilizations that the Mediterranean has given birth to, the olive is believed to be a sacred tree and the oil extracted from its fruit is used not only as a source of food but also for religious rituals: the Egyptians considered it a gift from the gods, the Phoenicians brought it with them on their commercial routes, defining it “liquid gold”, the Greeks and the Romans used it for medicinal purposes and to burn in their votive candles, Hebrews used it to anoint their king, and Christians have always used it in their religious services.
Our city became an important area for the cultivation of olives in the XIII century and there were many laws made to protect this plant.
Today, the area of Carmignano can boast of its long tradition of oil presses, farms and a production of excellent olive oil that has brought our area the recognition of Toscano IGP with the added mention of “Montalbano”.
With over nine hundred hectares of land covered with olive orchards, the largest amount of land use after vineyards, oil is these hills’ primary product and it has been produced since the Roman Age. Our city along with others and the Province of Pistoia and Florence, is an area that produces extravirgin olive oil with the protected geographic denomination “Toscano”, to which our area adds “Montalbano”. The olive trees, most of which are centuries old, are spread over the hills of Montalbano at an altitude between 100 and 500 meters above sea level. They are cared for with only the best agricultural practices like balanced pruning, correct fertilization and a careful tilling of the land. The olive harvest is still done by hand, as the Etruscan tradition requires, then the olives are conserved in wooden crates until they are pressed. The extraction, in local mills and presses, is done naturally, by centrifugation and decantation. Water is the only additive used. Extravirgin olive oil Toscano IGP “Montalbano” from Carmignano is characterized by its beautiful color which varies in tonality from bright green to an almost golden yellow, with a fruitful aroma that unites the aftertastes of almonds, artichokes and ripe fruit; which highten its fruity flavor giving it a touch of spice.