Olives in the land of Siena


The journey from tree to mill.

A favourable climate, fertile soils and skilled hands make Tuscan extra virgin olive oil among the most loved in our country and beyond.

Siena certainly is no exception to this rule.

The olive tree is certainly the most iconic plant of our territory, an ancient tree that has always been a staple of peasant culture.

Being able to follow the journey of one’s olives from the field to the mill and to the table is definitely exciting. Extra virgin olive oil is not all the same and it differs considerably from region to region and often even within the same territory.

The climate, the degree of ripeness of the olives at the time of harvest, the variety of cultivars, and the methods of processing and pressing the crop all influence and vary the organoleptic and flavour characteristics of the oil. According to tradition, November is the month of the olive harvest in Tuscany.

Olive harvesting can be done entirely by hand, using tongs, gloves or your bare hands. A large net is spread under each olive tree to collect the olives as they fall from the tree. Once all the olives have fallen, the net is collected and the small fruits are placed in baskets or bales.

The olive harvest has always been a big celebration. In the countryside, farmers would gather to help others with the harvest and at the end they would celebrate with meals, singing and dancing. Due to its agricultural vocation, the countryside around Siena can count on many olive oil mills in the area, which is where the olives are pressed and transformed into oil.

The pressing can take place on the same day as the harvest or a few days later (generally for small producers). If not processed immediately, the olives are set aside in a sheltered and ventilated place waiting to be taken to the mill.

There are 2 different methods for processing olives and obtaining extra virgin olive oil. These are known as ‘cold pressing’ and ‘hot pressing’.

We have reached the last leg of our olive journey: the table. When it comes to new Tuscan EVOO, ‘fresh’ from the mill, there are simple traditional recipes that allow you to enjoy it at its best. Ever tasted fettunta (toasted bread with olive oil), ribollita alla senese (bread stew), or beans al fiasco (beans cooked in a flask) with ‘olio novo’ fresh out of the mill? These experiences are worth the journey.


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