More than 1500 olive varieties (cultivars) have been found in the Mediterranean basin, 700 in Italy alone.
As olive trees cultivation expanded, a slow selection process begun. Either spontaneously or through human intervention cultivars were able to adapt to local climates and soil conditions.
Over time the evolution of this varietal heritage has resulted in today’s rich biodiversity.
Many cultivars suited to “super intensive” cultivation, spread increasingly due to the high availability of mechanical equipment. But the majority of cultivars still maintain a close bond with a defined terroir.
In Italy the identity of single cultivars, together with specific habitat conditions and farming techniques , have resulted in superior quality oils found all along the Italian peninsula. Like the smooth taste of the Taggiasca cultivar, typical of the western Ligurian coast, the intensely fruity taste with a hint of artichoke from Frantoio, Moraiolo, and Leccino cultivars typical of Tuscany and Umbria, or the bitter taste with a pungent note of the Coratina cultivar, typical of the area north of Bari, and the floral taste from Cerasuola, Nocellara del Belice, and Biancolilla cultivars from Sicily.