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The oil of the Marche

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The oil of the Marche

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The reputation of "Marche" oil, which has been maintained to this day, has very ancient origins. The oldest historical references refer to the oil "di Marca" or "de Marchia", while in the last two centuries the plural declination "Marche" oil has become more widespread, referring to the name of the Region, which appears definitively in the act of annexation to the Italian state of 1860.

We find mention of Marche oil and its quality in the period of the Lordship. In 1228 the ships from the Marche that landed on the bank of the Po in Ferrara had to pay a toll, "the ripatico", consisting of 25 pounds of oil which was given a higher value than that of other regions. This is confirmed by the Capitulars of the Art of the "Ternieri" of Venice, drawn up in 1263 in which it is established that "the oil de Marchia" had to be separated from other similar productions to resell it at a higher price by virtue of its color and flavor. Marche oil was also sold to Florentine traders; in 1347 the wool makers of Florence imported 2,500 jars of olive oil from the Marche. This export to other regions continued until the mid-1600s. Finally, the letter from the great marchigian poet Giacomo Leopardi dated February 1828, indicating to his father that "the oil of the Marca" was also famous outside the Region.

This ancient reputation has remained unchanged over the centuries and today, more than ever, Marche's oil is sought after and appreciated by virtue of its characteristics. This is demonstrated by the numerous national and international awards obtained by the Marche companies in recent years.
The high reputation of Marche oil undoubtedly derives from its qualitative characteristics due to a set of factors: pedoclimatic, technological and socio-economic.

Marche's oil is a recognizable product, with a yellow-green color, with a tendency to medium or medium-intense fruitiness. Overall it is a very aromatic oil with balanced taste sensations. The Marche region is the most northerly Adriatic region where the olive tree is the main tree crop. This affects the uniqueness of the product characterized by a fluidity due to the lower synthesis of saturated fatty acids, such as palmitic and linoleic, compared to oleic acid and other unsaturated acids.

Another factor that contributes to characterizing the quality of the Marche oil is the particular attention that has traditionally been always paid in the harvesting phase, both in the choice of the optimal period and in the method used. Over time, the method of picking the fruit directly from the plant has remained constant, by grazing it by hand or with the aid of facilitating tools - this is currently the most widespread practice - or with mechanical systems that guarantee the integrity of the fruit. In the Marche region, olive harvesting that has fallen to the ground has never been practiced.

Even the extraction technology has a long tradition in the Marche. A 1910 census in the province of Ancona revealed 163 active oil mills, between animal power and motive power, so much so as to deduce a widespread distribution of plants in all the municipalities of the region interested in olive cultivation. In 2000, 165 mills were operative in the region. This data allows us to say that today, in every municipality where olive growing is present, the olive pressing service is ensured due to the widespread distribution of the plants. A real network of mills that guarantees that the milling takes place quickly while maintaining the quality of the olives.

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