Throughout the world, Rome is known as the "Eternal City". By walking through its streets, it is possible to dive into the past, a history rich in art, monuments and archaeological sites that offer a unique experience.
There are numerous historical places in Rome linked to olive oil; hereunder we suggest some itineraries to discover the green gold.
Palatine Hill olive grove
Since ancient times, olive trees have been an integral part of the landscape of the most important of the seven hills, the Palatine Hill. There are numerous historical traces attesting that the cultivation of olive trees was already present in the Forum and on the Palatine Hill: Pliny the Elder, for example, in his Naturalis Historia menziona "Ficus, olea et vitiis", (fig tree, olive tree and vine), plants that can still be admired inside the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum.
Even today, walking among the majestic residences of the Roman emperors, it is possible to come across the olive grove on the Palatine Hill with as many as 189 olive trees from different eras, from the centenarian specimens present near the Arch of Titus to the younger plants, still productive, scattered throughout the rest of the area. The Park has in fact given life to a project to recover the natural heritage through the production of zero kilometers extra virgin olive oil with the aim of protecting and enhancing the archaeological, monumental and landscape heritage.
Not far from Rome, on the slopes of the Tiburtini Mountains, there lies Tivoli, a city renowned for the presence of the most beautiful Roman villas in Lazio. Recognised as a UNESCO heritage site in 1999, Hadrian’s Villa is the largest villa that has ever belonged to an emperor.
On an area of 120 hectares of land, between 118 and 138 AD, emperor Hadrian built one of the most renowned archaeological sites in the world, with mausoleums, nymphaeums, gardens and temples, that represent an invaluable architectural and historical heritage.
Today it is possible to visit 40 of the 120 hectares of land scattered with olive trees used to produce Olio di Roma PGI. In the fantastic setting of Hadrian’s Villa, an initiative combines the historic olive groves and the archaeological remains of the villa; as part of a project to valorise the area, in partnership with Unaprol and Coldiretti Lazio, the complex has obtained the Olio di Roma PGI brand.
Monte dei Cocci in Testaccio
Walking in the heart of the historic district of Rome, Testaccio, it is possible to come across Monte Testaccio, better known as Monte dei Cocci, in the area of the river port of ancient Rome.
At the turn of the Augustan period and the middle of the Third century AD, it became customary to dispose of testae (non-reusable shards) in this area, mainly consisting of fragments of olive oil amphorae that were used for the transport of goods. Monte Testaccio was nothing more than a sort of landfill made with the fragments of the aforementioned shards, suitably stacked. With its 54 meters and a circumference of about 1 kilometre, today it represents an important historical-documentary source of the economic development of the Roman Empire, as well as of food habits in antiquity.
Museum of Roman Civilization
In the vast panorama of what Rome's museums have to offer, the Museum of Roman Civilization, inaugurated to the public in 1955, cannot fail to be mentioned. The museum project was born in the Fascist era, with the desire to give a prestigious venue to the various collections in the context of the 1942 Universal Exposition in Rome.
Inside there are mainly reproductions of casts of statues, reliefs and parts of buildings, but also evidence of "material culture" such as household objects, daily work tools and furnishings. The value and charm of this important museum lies in being the only museum in the world to tell the ancient Roman civilization in its entirety, in the documentary value of the casts made on originals, and in the ability to offer the original recomposition of many great works currently split between several museums.
Temporarily closed for maintenance work, it is possible to take virtual tours of the museum via Street View that allows you to move around 360° and get closer to the works or access the photo gallery.
Temple of Hercules Victor
In the archaeological area of the Forum Boarium, which was the meat market in ancient Rome, it is possible to visit the oldest marble building in the city, the Temple of Hercules Victor.
The monument is an expression of the relationship that has always existed between the production of olive oil and the ancient Roman world.
The temple, also called Hercules Olivarius, was built in the 1st century BC by the Roman corporation of olive oil producers, and dedicated to God Hercules, protector of the agricultural world.
Together with the Pantheon and the temple of Portunus, the building is one of the three Roman temples that have come down to us preserved in their entirety.