We all know Italy is a dreamy destination. With its balmy weather, relaxed charm, and delicious fare, a summer spent adventuring through the great Italian boot is an experience like nothing else.
Still, while most vacationers have heard of the amazing tours and tastings offered by vineyards and wine makers, most don’t realize that the climates and conditions well-known for producing marvelous grapes are the same as those which produce the finest Italian olive oils.
The experience of olive oil tasting is a culinary adventure that rivals that of Italian wine tours, and local olive growers and groves, like vineyards, delight in offering visitors a taste of their lives and culture. But by no means do you have to choose between them. It turns out that many of the regions best known for wine are also the most renowned for amazing olives oils — so, when you go, don’t miss the best of both worlds.
Gearing up for a summer holiday in Italy? Here are Bellucci’s best destinations for tasting tours and EVOO exploration.
- SICILY. Nestled in the hills of Sicily, you’ll find some of the richest and most flavorful Italian olives. Home to the biancolilla, cerusuola, nocellara — a.k.a. the famous Castelvetrano table olive — as well as many other delicious olive cultivars, Sicily is one of the regions covered by the EU’s Protected Geographical Indication and Protected Designation of Origin certifications and the origin of Bellucci’s award-winning Sicilia PGI Organic EVOO. Authentic Italian EVOOs that bear the PGI or PDO mark are world renowned.
A drive along Sicily’s coastline offers the opportunity to visit many sites that offer local wine and olive oil tasting. Take the remarkable Salt Road, and you’ll see an amazing array of windmills used to transform local seawater into fresh Mediterranean salt. Order a traditional Sicilian lunch prepared with authentic Italian EVOO, paired with a fine glass of local Marsala, and you’ll find yourself sighing with pleasure and delight.
- TUSCANY. Stunning views, pristine nature, and sophisticated country accommodations await the adventurous traveler. The gorgeous landscapes and areas of interests are both easily accessible and off the beaten path taken by most tourists.
Known for both its rolling green hills and gorgeous coastline, Tuscany is a main producer of bold, verdant extra virgin olive oils and the well-known Italian wines, Sassicaia and Chianti. Both the EVOO and traditional wine produced in this region are likewise protected by the EU’s PDO and PGI regulations, and the terroir of Tuscany is truly unique. Try Bellucci’s award-winning Toscano PGI Organic, to taste why you need to go!
For a list of compelling itineraries — including a series of “Wine and Olive Roads”, highlighting everything from must-see historic sites, to noteworthy contemporary architecture — visit this comprehensive site, which was compiled by VisitTuscany.com.
- PUGLIA. You may know Puglia as the heel of Italy’s infamous boot, but it also has the longest coastline of any regions on the mainland. The landscape varies widely for such a small region, with the northern hills flattening to the spacious plains of the southern tip — and each of these areas are renowned for both olives and grapes.
Puglia’s scenic town of Alberobello is a UNESCO World Heritage site and truly a must-see. Visitors to the Museo dell’Olio will encounter an ancient olive oil mill and press that are seemingly untouched by time. A short stroll through the town center offers many options for wine and olive oil tasting, and the nearby Museo del Territorio, a fabulous structure comprised of ten trulli (an eye-catching form of conical architecture, unique to the area), allows visitors insight into the area’s rich and valuable history.
The region is instead much more well known for its “liquid gold” — the rich and flavorful olive oil that is produced here. In fact, Liguria is home to the Museo dell’Olivo, which celebrates the history of the olive tree and its fruit. During harvest season, the museum opens an adjacent mill to the public as part of the area’s famous olive oil festival.
Visitors to the area can enjoy the mild climate no matter the season and absorb the beauty of the local landscape and cuisine by following one of many walking tours listed here.
- ROME. Already planned your tour of Italy’s most famous cultural sites? Never fear! The culture surrounding Italian food and wine is deeply embedded in the history of this ancient city. You’ll find plenty of nearby options for experiencing wine and olive oil tasting, should you choose. Several unique sights are accessible, even to those who are short on time.
In fact, the largest olive tree in Italy still stands in the rolling hills of Sabina, just north of Rome. Reserve half a day to get a glimpse of the stunning Roman countryside, sample the unique flavors of local cuisine, and participate in one of the many wine and olive oil tasting tours offered in the area. You’ll visit a magnificent grove of organic olive trees, learn how authentic Italian EVOO is made, and sample locally produced oils and wine. Be sure to reserve enough time to tour the Pantheon before dinner.
We hope you’ll find time to explore the outstanding culture and cuisine offered by a summer tasting tour in Italy!
Still, those who plan to stick closer to home can simply sample Bellucci’s Legendary Series. Both our Toscano PGI Organic and our Sicilia PGI Organic are certified by the EU’s Protected Geographical Indicators — and every bottle is fully traceable! This means you can be sure you’ll taste the fresh, authentic flavors of Italy in every drop. Pour more!