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Nearly 170 cities across the country will hold educational, cultural and tasting events in traditional olive groves and mills.
A record-break­ing num­ber of Italian munic­i­pal­i­ties have cho­sen to join a nation­wide ini­tia­tive to pro­mote oleo­tourism.
On October 30th, events in 168 loca­tions will bring thou­sands of locals and tourists to olive groves, small vil­lages, his­toric sites and ancient mills.
Visitors will have the chance to taste local extra vir­gin olive oil and other tra­di­tional olive oil-based food spe­cial­ties.
Since the event coin­cides with the start of the olive har­vest in many parts of the coun­try, vis­i­tors will also have the oppor­tu­nity to try freshly-pro­duced olive oil.
The Walking Among Olive Trees Day’ includes var­i­ous events designed to allow par­tic­i­pants to embrace the olive trees,” accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers.
Visitors will be invited to join hands and form cir­cles to hug the olive trees, cel­e­brat­ing the ancient rela­tion­ship between the local peo­ple and trees.
In the 17 Italian regions involved, there will be itin­er­aries for a walk from two to seven kilo­me­ters through the olive groves.
Each munic­i­pal­ity has selected a route among the olive trees with unique char­ac­ter­is­tics from the his­tor­i­cal and envi­ron­men­tal point of view that ends in a mill, an olive farm or a his­toric build­ing where par­tic­i­pants will be offered a tast­ing of bread, oil and typ­i­cal prod­ucts,” orga­niz­ers said in a press release.
In Fasano, in the heart of the south­ern region of Puglia, vis­i­tors will explore a unique area known as Lama del Trappeto (Blade of Trappeto, in Italian), which was named for the shape of the chan­nel that col­lects rain­wa­ter and brings it to an ancient under­ground olive mill.
In the mill, par­tic­i­pants will assist in the olive oil pro­duc­tion process fol­low­ing ancient tra­di­tion and using his­tor­i­cal tools such as mill­stones and presses. The event will also include a guided walk through the cen­tury-old olive grove and end with a tast­ing event.
Meanwhile, in Chiavari, Liguria, in north­west­ern Italy, vis­i­tors will walk from the city cen­ter to the olive groves with a local guide who will explain the city’s his­tory and dis­cuss the specifics of local olive grow­ing.
A local the­atri­cal asso­ci­a­tion will per­form in the groves, and tast­ings will be offered in the his­tor­i­cal site of Palazzo Rocca, once home to many olive trees.
The net­work of involved munic­i­pal­i­ties is part of the Città dell’Olio, an asso­ci­a­tion that includes more than 400 olive-grow­ing munic­i­pal­i­ties.
Michele Sonnessa, the asso­ci­a­tion’s pres­i­dent, told Olive Oil Times that the even­t’s goal is to raise aware­ness of the envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of olive tree cul­ti­va­tion and the risks posed to tra­di­tional olive groves by the pat­tern of aban­don­ment among the younger gen­er­a­tion.
According to research from the International Olive Council, in the pro­duc­tion of 1 liter of olive oil, olive trees remove 10 kilo­grams of CO2 from the atmos­phere.”
“[With this ini­tia­tive] we intend to raise aware­ness among the pop­u­la­tion and encour­age the gov­ern­ment to pro­mote tra­di­tional and sus­tain­able olive grow­ing,” Sonnessa said, warn­ing that the gov­ern­ment must act soon to address the impend­ing demo­graphic cri­sis fac­ing tra­di­tional olive oil pro­duc­tion.
That is why we planned a sym­bolic and con­crete ges­ture, a shared and col­lec­tive hug which will help wit­ness the pas­sion we nur­ture towards the plant that, more than any other, pro­tects the envi­ron­ment,” he added. And to wit­ness the com­mu­ni­ty’s com­mit­ment to pre­serve the grow­ing olive land­scape and restore aban­doned farm­land.”
According to the pro­mot­ers, there are many sim­i­lar­i­ties in local olive oil cul­tures through­out the coun­try, but spe­cific dif­fer­ences exist in the dif­fer­ent regions.
Therefore, such an ini­tia­tive is a way to pro­mote oleo­tourism based on the endur­ing her­itage of our ter­ri­to­ries, a value that will build wealth for future gen­er­a­tions,” the asso­ci­a­tion said in a press release.
From north to south, thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants will join hands and cre­ate human cir­cles around the olive trees in the Cities of Olives,” Sonnessa con­cluded. Small ges­tures [such as this] might have a mul­ti­ply­ing effect on the pop­u­la­tion and [ulti­mately] change things.”
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