"The peoples of the Mediterranean began to get out of barbarians when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine."
So it was written by Tucidide in the fifth century BC. The olive oil story (Olea Europea Sativa) is as old as the Mediterranean civilization. Nearly 6000 years ago, the farming communities occupying the coastal regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, on the current Siro-Palestinian coast, began to select their varieties and realized that it was possible to obtain a dense, oily liquid, useful for cosmetics, aromatic flavor And pleasing, and could easily be used as fuel.
In the ancient world olive cultivation was distributed throughout Greece, today's Turkey and Palestine.
In Babylon in 2500 BC Hammurabi's Babylonian code ruled the production and trade of olive oil.
Around 2300 BC The Egyptians adorned the tombs of the Pharaohs with olive branches, a symbol of life and fruitfulness, but in Egypt he traded oil before the XIXth dynasty.
Throughout Palestine, the peoples were dedicated to olive cultivation, especially the tribe of the Philistines. Stone mortars have been found in Israel, dating back to the 5th millennium BC. Still today in Jerusalem there are the eight multi-century olive trees of the Gethsemani garden, which have certainly been regenerated by the footsteps under which Jesus stopped to pray. In Jewish culture, olive oil is used to sanctify and consecrate the Ark of the Covenant, the cult of worship and the priests.
In fact, in the Bible, reference is made to the dove released by Noah, who returned to the ark with an olive branch in the beak, a symbol of universal suffrage and the beginning of a new life.
The ever increasing demand for oil and wine in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Anatolia encouraged the development and prosperity of Mediterranean coastal areas, and thanks to the Phoenicians the olive plant landed in most Mediterranean countries.
The beginning of the development of olive cultivation in Italy is due to the Greeks who colonized and exported the olive trees in the southern regions and northern Africa, but the Romans were giving the ancient era of more olive-growing, outlining the choices Fundamentals of annuity policy. In Roman times some important improvements were made in the oil technology and numerous Latin works of agronomy written from the 2nd century BC. Many authors pointed out to the landowners the best forms of cultivation to be taken in their holdings and all the appropriate arrangements in the pruning, fertilizing, harvesting and processing of olives, so much so that for historian Plinio L'Italia in the first half of the I century A.D "Possessed so much oil of little price to overcome all the other countries" and Giunio Moderato Columella asserted in his "De Rustica" that "Olea prima omniun arborum est", that is that among all the trees the first place is to the olive.
After a long period of decline, due to the fall of the Roman Empire and the barbarian invasions, the olive grove, which survived the monasteries, regained a prominent place since the Twelfth century, when oil was again the protagonist of trade, contributing to the fortunes of Different states. Puglia is transformed into an immense olive grove and launches the economy of the southern lands.