Sardinia and olive oil

Sardinia and olive oil

The planting of olive trees probably began about 6000 years ago in Syria. Around 3000 BC, the olive tree was brought to Europe. In Sardinia, the first buildings can be traced back to the 9th century BC. Here the Nuragher, the natives of Sardinia, had taken over the planting from the Punians. The later occupiers of the island, the Phoenicians, Romans, Pisans, Genoese and Spaniards, then advanced the cultivation of olive trees in various areas. Today olives are grown mainly in the
in the
and in the northeastern
Alghero is the traditional centre of Sardinian olive culture: 60 percent of the Sardinian olive groves are located in the areas of the pretty port city. The systematic cultivation goes back to the Spaniards, who in 1625 had specialists from Valencia in Spain embarked in order to bring the cultivation methods up to date. In the 20th century, agriculture in southern Italy was on the ground. The farmers were hardly trained, plant crops were often outdated, soils were insufficiently worked and olive trees were improperly pruned. However, through land reforms and training programmes, olive oil production on the Mediterranean island is now modern. The quality of Sardinian olive oil is in no way in spite of the quality of the oil produced on the Italian or Spanish mainland, even if the yields are lower than, for example, in Tuscany. The olives that thrive between
and Alghero are particularly low in acidity and the taste is similar to the Tuscan olive oil varieties. Of course, as in all Mediterranean kitchens, olive oil is also an integral part of the Sardinian cooking pots: here it is used cold or warm in sauces, vegetables, fish or meat dishes.


Olive trees grow scattered all over the island, often on rocky ground. But the centuries-old groves, which were mostly created during the Spanish occupation, are mainly found in the north of the island: more than 60 percent of the Sardinian olive oil comes from the area around Alghero, which reaches into the hinterland to Ittiri. But also in the surroundings of
the olive tree is cultivated. Further south, around the
near Cagliari and Seneghe,today olive oil of first quality thrives. While the region’s 1,600 or so trees used to be sprayed with pesticides against vermin, today only olive oil from sustainable agriculture grows here. There are also many olive crops on the slopes around Villacidro.

The olive harvest also has a long tradition in Gonnosfanadiga and Villamassargia. Here, the yellow-green oil is also honoured with a celebration every year. The olive oil of the Barbagiacomes from higher regions.
is also an important centre of Sardinian olive oil cultivation. From the east coast, around
on the other hand, come some oils, which have won several prizes among the Sardinian olive oils.

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