Underground Olive Oil mill of XVI century in Veglie

The olive press is carved out in the rock (tufa) and has several rooms; the largest was used to crush the olives and to press and separate the oil from them, while other rooms were used for storage and stabling the animals.The olive press was active up until the late XIX century or early XX century. A whole community worked here; from September until March the olive oil mill hands (known as "trappitari") worked side by side with the animals, essential for the pressing of the olives. Yoked up to the millstone, the beasts walked round and round the tank for hours at a time, transforming the fruit into a paste, which was subsequently pressed to squeeze out the liquid. These examples of industrial archaeology , so common in the Salento, bear witness to the role of olive oil production in the Regional economy.The liquid gold was exported through the port of Gallipoli to northern Europe, where it was used as a fuel for lamps.Thus the harsh toil of the "trappitari", who worked underground for six months a year, served to light up the cities of the North.

DSC 3208DSC 3210