The Salento Gold

From lamping olive oil to the extra virgin olive oil DOP ‘’Terra d’Otranto’’

‘’Terra d’Otranto’’ ( Land of Otranto) was the Middle Ages name of Salento because Otranto was During IX and X century A.C. the most important city of the area. The cultivation of olive trees was developed by the Basilians, Greek monks of byzantine cult, who introduced and implemented a new variety of olive tree named as ‘’cellina di Nardò’’ (Nardò is a city in this area). From XVI to XIX century the olive trees cultivation greatly contributed to the richness of Salento because the so called ‘’lamping oil’’ produced in the many local underground olives milling plants, some of them in our city of Veglie, by olives of poor quality harvested from the ground was shipped from the port of Gallipoli to North Europe to illuminate the cities and to produce soap. The Basilian monks introduced also in Salento the technique of harvesting the olives directly from the plant to produce a better quality olive oil to be used as food. The continuous evolution of the techniques of olive trees cultivation, harvesting and milling of olives and extraction of olive oil produced by mainly using the autochthonous olives ‘’ogliarola di Lecce’’ and ‘’cellina di Nardò’’ gives a particular product deeply connected with the local ‘’Territory’’ with its unique and majestic olive trees, the culture of farmers, the surrounding environment, the mild climate, the fragrance and brightness of a piece of land between two seas, the Adriatic and the Ionian : All this contribute to make unique the olive oil of this Territory that shows the switness and harmony typical of Salento.