THE ECOLOGICAL OIL MILL: WHEN TECHNOLOGY DOES TREASURE OF MILLENARY EXPERIENCE

Thousands of history. This is the starting point for olive cultivation in Liguria, an ancient art that is born of the millennial experience and which is still handed over by father to son in the Ligurian countryside.
Two are the factors that characterize the territory of Val di Magra since antiquity. The cultivation of the olive tree due to the favorable climatic conditions due to the proximity of the sea and the protection of the Tosco-Emilian Apennines, and the modes of communication: the establishment of the Roman colony of Luni, a great merchant port where most of the Commerce by Sea, and Via Francigena, through which merchants and pilgrims have crossed the peninsula for centuries to reach Canterbury.

The ancient Ligurians already knew the oil, the pillar of Mediterranean culture, produced in Greek colonies in Italy and marketed by the Etruscans. Roman colonization imposed the first forms of olive cultivation. Right in our territory, in Portovenere, we find the archaeological remains of the Roman villa of Varignano Vecchio, a testimony to how the production and export of oil was the main activity of the fund.
Here, according to the provisions of Catone, begins in the first years of the 1st century BC to a cultivation of precious and intense olive, which will characterize the production of the company for more than two centuries. But not only. It is well known from the sources that even hazelnuts were used in the harvesting and production cycle, so that no one would be wasted. Pliny recommends that all machining processes take place in “hot and closed mills, with the slightest possible movement of the air, so that no wood should be cut in these environments; that is why fire from hazelnuts is fine. ‘Olive’ (Plinio, Naturalis Historia, XV, 22).
With the fall of the Roman Empire, olive cultivation survived through the Byzantine tradition until the Lombard invasion of 643 AD. Around the year 1000, medieval documents speak of the revival of olive cultivation. Then a “species selection” period begins, but in Liguria cultivation remains marginal due to the morphology of the territory. The short distance that separated the banks from the mountain ranges made it difficult to cultivate until the birth of the terraced phenomenon by Benedictine monks. Particularly since the 15th century, the terraces developed in our region, reaching the maximum expansion in the eighteenth century, determining those peculiarities that have become a qualifying element of the Ligurian landscape and which today constitute a remarkable historical and cultural heritage.

Landscape then. But above all, care and respect for the environment. The Lucchi and Guastalli mill, as can be seen from this ancient map, is where the oldest olive groves were located, and was the first in Liguria to use a plant characterized by rational management of water and the absence of oily waste . After extracting the oil, the olive kernel is recovered as ecological fuel and reused for water heating. The residual shed is instead destined for the production of electricity to biogas plants.
Two thousand years of history combined with the same goal: to get a high quality product with the utmost respect for the environment. That is why today, as of yesterday, we can reasonably talk about “Ecological Oil”.