Pick of the crop

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Italians don’t hug trees, they shake them! Well, they do at this time of year anyway, when the country’s olive trees are laden with juicy fruit, ready to be squeezed into glorious green and deliciously peppery olive oil!

Want to get a piece of the action? We’ve selected 6 hotels where guests are welcome to join in the harvesting (and the tasting) of Italy’s much-coveted liquid gold.

Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort – Vicchio di Mugello

Villa Campestri

Tuscany is, of course, packed to bursting point with charming farm stays and country hotels which produce their own olive oil for guests to taste and purchase but,  if you’ve only got time to visit one, it would have to be the Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort, in Vicchio di Mugello.

Italy’s first Olive Oil Resort, this massive country estate just outside Florence, has been custom-designed for the olive-obsessed. You can pick the olives, eat the olives, watch them being pressed and bottled, choose the oil which best suits your meal from the oil menu, and even have the lovely stuff smeared all over you during a massage performed, yes, you’ve guessed it: under the olive trees!

 

Borgo della Marmotta – Spoleto

 Val di Spoleto

Like neighboring Tuscany, Umbria is one of Italy’s biggest producers of olive oil and, in particular, extra virgin olive oil. To see how the Umbrians do it, go to Borgo della Marmotta: a gorgeous country hotel created in the 17th century hamlet at the heart of the Terre di Poreta farm.
These guys produce some of the finest single variety olive oils in Italy, produced with organic olives, picked by hand and pressed within 8 hours of leaving the trees.

Feeling maternal? Adopt an olive tree! Borgo della Marmotta gives clients the opportunity to choose a tree to “adopt” and from which they can then obtain their own supply of delicious olive oil!

[Photo: Alamy/Milestone Media]

Relais San Damian – Imperia

Relais San Damian

Despite living in one of the most impervious regions in the whole of Italy, Ligurians have always managed to get the most out of the narrow terraces of cultivable land squeezed between the rocky coast and the mountains, and that includes surprisingly generous crops of olives, from which they obtain an extremely good olive oil.

A great place to taste Liguria’s liquid gold? Country hotel Relais San Damian, in the hills above Imperia, makes an excellent extra virgin olive oil (as well as one of the best breakfasts in the whole of Italy!).

 

Biomasseria Lama di Luna – Andria

Biomasseria

If there’s one thing guaranteed to get Italians bickering, it’s a debate about which region makes the best olive oil. For Tuscans, it’s Tuscany, for Umbrians, it’s Umbria and for Ligurians, it’s Liguria (and so on…).
Personally, I love all Italian olive oils and, in fact, one of the very first just-pressed extra virgin olive oils I ever tasted was made in Puglia deep down in the heel of Italy’s boot – not far from Andria and the Biomasseria Lama di Luna.

Occupying an 18th century farmhouse, this eco-sustainable resort lies at the heart of an extensive organic farm, famous, among other things, for its olive oil – which is used not only in and on the hotel’s delicious cuisine but in its natural range of bath products too!

 

Masseria Astapiana Villa Giusso – Vico Equense

masseria astapiana

A 17th century monastery transformed into a unique hotel, Masseria Astapiana Villa Giusso sits at the center of a cliff top farming estate in Vico Equense, halfway between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.
It’s here in the historic sea view olive groves that the fruit used to make Masseria Astapiana’s “DOP Peninsola Sorrentina” extra virgin olive oil is grown.

If you like your holidays to be hands-on, you’re  going to love this place, which actively encourages guests to join in the olive harvest and the rest of life on the farm.

 

Mandranova – Palma di Montechiaro

mandranova

Surrounded by the sun-baked countryside of Palma di Montechiaro and within minutes of the sea and the ruins of Agrigento, Mandranova is both a seriously stylish Sicilian country resort and one of the island’s most important producers of single variety extra virgin olive oils.

The landscaped olive farm is big so, if you want to explore, your best bet is to ask Giuseppe, the owner, to give you a tour (he’ll be only too happy to do so!). Mandranova’s olive oil is used in the flavor-packed Sicilian dinners cooked for guests by Giuseppe’s wife, Sylvia and is available for purchase, either on site or online!

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