Extra virgin olive oil is one of the symbols of the Mediterranean diet and a fundamental ingredient in Italian cuisine. But what is the story of this precious liquid that has gone through millennia of history and culture?
Extra virgin olive oil has very ancient origins, which date back to ancient Greece and ancient Rome. In these cultures, oil was considered a sacred and precious food, used both for cooking and for personal hygiene. According to some sources, extra virgin olive oil was used by Roman gladiators to lubricate their skin and make it easier for their opponents' attacks to slide. It was also used to ease the pain of their sore muscles and wounds. During military campaigns, Roman soldiers carried bottles of extra virgin olive oil with them for personal use. Also, the oil was used for healing wounds and skin diseases. The ancient Romans also used extra virgin olive oil for religious purposes, it was a fundamental ingredient for many religious ceremonies and was used to anoint idols, priests and altars.
Later, with the spread of Christianity, oil becomes a fundamental element in religious rites, such as baptism and the consecration of sacred objects. With the advent of the Renaissance, extra virgin olive oil became a symbol of social status, used by noble families to flavor their dishes and to preserve their paintings and art objects.
In the twentieth century, extra virgin olive oil became more and more widespread all over the world, thanks to its reputation as a fundamental element of Mediterranean cuisine and a healthy and balanced diet. In Italy, extra virgin olive oil becomes a central element of agriculture and the national economy, with the creation of many olive cooperatives and many oil producing companies.
In recent decades, extra virgin olive oil has become increasingly popular around the world, thanks to its reputation as a healthy and nutritious element of the Mediterranean diet. In addition, numerous scientific studies have been conducted on its ability to prevent cardiovascular disease and protect brain health.
Today, extra virgin olive oil is one of the symbols of Italian and Mediterranean culture and gastronomy, with a thousand-year history that has evolved over time, used all over the world as an essential ingredient in international cuisine.