Monti Pisani Olive Oil Road
The Monti Pisani Olive’s Oil Road is a large area of Tuscany within Pisa and Lucca. The Road area surrounds 5 municipalities of the Pisa’s Province (Buti, Calci, San Giuliano Terme, Vecchiano, Vicopisano) and it’s characterized by a mountainous area named Monti Pisani and a wide plain extending to the sea.
The local oil is obtained from specifical kind of olives, such as “Frantoio”, “Leccino” and “Moraiolo”, it’s hand-picked and cold pressed and has been rewarded with the “Extra Virgin Olive Oil – IGP Toscano – sub Monti Pisani” trademark. The oil is more or less green depending on the olives maturity degree and has a spicy taste with a certain degre of bitterness. As the months passes it tends to yellow, while keeping its particular taste and its fruity smell. You can buy the oil directly from the local olive farms and mills as well as in specialized stores and restaurants associated with the Monti Pisani Olive Oil Road.
Since the Middle Ages, the olive groves perched on small terraces have characterized the marine slope landscape of the Monti Pisani, benefitting from a climate and soil well suited to olive growing.
While in Tuscany most oils are a blend that varies from place to place of the four most popular species (leccino, moraiolo, frantoio and pendolino), in Buti and Calci mostly golden green frantoio olives are grown. The olives are carefully selected, gathered by hand straight from the tree and pressed locally without waiting for the natural ripening process to begin.
There are different ways to pick grapes: “bacchiatura”, when olives are high up on the tree and have to be hit with a sort of stick; “brucatura”, which consists of running your hands along a short branch; and the use of “plastic nets”, typically orange. The finest oil is obtained by collecting the olives when the colour is changing from green to purplish (veraison) before pressing the olives (and not the stones) mechanically. The oil undergoes no chemical alteration or refinement – it maintains its authenticity to the point that its flavour becomes accentuated when tasted raw.
In the hills around Pisa, olives are grown and oil is made traditionally everywhere. Market shows, festivals and food events take place especially in the autumn, all of which are linked to olive oil made by local mills. The oil is enjoyed raw eaten on bread, which depending on the area is known as bruschetta, fettunta or crogiantina.