THE CALABRIAN WHITE OLIVE TREE

The white olive, an undeniable asset of our biodiversity, which must be preserved and enhanced.

By Silvia Sperandio and translated by Jack Davidson Walmsley

Today I would like to lead you once again to Calabria, a land with an extraordinary history that has its roots in Greek culture, to which it has been linked since ancient times.

As we have already seen in the previous article regarding the thousand-year-old Sycamore tree of Guringa, there are many natural wonders that this Region has to offer and it’s linked to another tree; The White Olive.

Walking through the Calabrian woods, it’s easy to come across the Ulivo Bianco, which grows wild in sunny areas.

Le olive dell’Ulivo Bianco della Calabria, hanno radici antichissime e provengono dalla Magna Grecia

Walking through the Calabrian woods, it’s easy to come across the Ulivo Bianco, which grows wild in sunny areas. It is primarily found between the provinces of Cosenza and Reggio Calabria, although back in the age of Magna Graecia it was a widespread plant throughout the region, but with the closure of many monasteries, the motivations for its cultivation diminished and this particular variety was gradually discontinued.

While discovering this beautiful and peculiar plant, you could visit the ancient village of Brancaleone Superiore (RC), under which lies the Grotta della Madonna del Riposo, a Chapel within a cave dating back to the 8th century in which Basilian monks used to live. The monument and the cave are well preserved and some frescoes can still be found inside. Dating from the same period are the caves of San Glorio or San Florio in Casignana (RC), shallow, multi-storey caves carved entirely out of the sandstone rock.

The Jasmine Coast hides many other beauties such as the hermitage of Santa Maria della Stella in Pazzano (RC), a very ancient place of worship also dating back to the 8th century.

It is also possible to see White Olive trees on the terraces and in the gardens of the locals who are gradually rediscovering them, even if only for decorative purposes, thus creating a connection with their ancient history.

Walking through the Calabrian woods, it's easy to come across the Ulivo Bianco, which grows wild in sunny areas
Particolare del ramo di ulivo bianco che cresce spontaneamente in Calabria

THE CALABRIAN WHITE OLIVES

The Leucocarpa, also known as the Leucolea or Olivo della Madonna, is an ancient olive tree that survives in the wild, especially in Calabria, and has the particularity of presenting white fruits. The strange occurrence is due to the plant’s decreased production of chlorophyll, which means that it does not create the anthocyanins that give olives their characteristic blue-green colour  keeping them white, so to speak.

The plant was brought here by the same Basilian monks who planted the Sycamore trees.

Once again, the choice seems to derive from the fact that white olives were associated with the concept of purity, which is why the white olive tree was chosen to be grown near churches and monasteries. The oil obtained from the milling process was then used for sacred rites, such as extreme unction or the consecration of new churches. Because of the sacredness attributed to the tree, the tradition of giving olive branches on Easter Monday has continued for centuries.

Thanks to its history, which goes back a long way, the Environment Councillor for the Regional Council, Sergio De Caprio, recently chose the Leucocarpa as a symbol representing the whole Region, proudly stating that : << The White Olive Tree is once again symbol of legality and brotherhood for the entire Region>>.

With the recently approved deliberation recognising it as a tree of regional interest.

This tree, explains the councillor, is a symbol of Calabrian tradition and history, introduced in the sixth century A.D. on the Greek island of Kasos by Basilian monks.

In this way – underlines De Caprio – we reaffirm the ancient link with Greece and the Mediterranean, of which Calabria must and wants to return to being a centre for growth and development, enhancing the natural and archaeological endemisms, precious gems of a unique cultural treasure.

Jack Walmsley, British blood but Italian in his heart. Passionate about Rugby, Food, Nature and Mixology (Gin in particular). Aspiring member of the Golden Keys currently in force at the Park Hyatt Milan as Night Goalkeeper, the undisputed reality of Milanese hospitality. The Lockdown was a hard blow for me, but I can't wait to get back in the game!

Jack Walmsley, sangue Britannico ma Italiano nel cuore. Appassionato di Rugby, Cibo, Natura e Mixology (Gin in particolare). Membro aspirante delle Chiavi d’oro attualmente in forza al Park Hyatt Milano come Portiere Notturno, realta’ indiscussa dell´ospitalita´ Milanese. Il Lockdown per me e´stato un duro colpo, ma non vedo l’ora di rimettermi in gioco! Traduco i testi in inglese per EnjoyItalyGo. Linkedin

This is the Calabria we like, the Calabria of the Calabrian people.

Lavoro nel mondo del turismo da sempre, in hotel, in ristoranti e compagnie aeree dove ho avuto anche Niki Lauda come capo. Dal 2017 organizzo corsi di formazione professionale per varie realtà nel mondo dell’ospitalità fra le quali A.L.P.A. (Associazione Lombarda Portieri d’Albergo); U.I.P.A. (Unione Italiana Portieri d’Albergo); FORMATEMP. Mi occupo di consulenza e formazione nel campo del turismo, Hospitality e food and beverage. EnjoyItalyGo è il mio nuovo progetto, di cui sono fondatrice, attraverso il quale desidero far conoscere il genius loci dell’Italia, nel mondo. Sono innamorata dell’Italia e insieme ai talentuosi redattori di EIG e ai molti professionisti con cui collaboro, ve la farò scoprire! Linkedin.

I have always worked in the world of tourism, in hotels, restaurants and airlines where I also had Niki Lauda as a boss. Since 2017 I have been organizing professional training courses for various realities in the hospitality world, including A.L.P.A. (Lombard Association of Hotel Porters); U.I.P.A. (Italian Union of Hotel Porters); FORMAT TEMP. I deal with consulting and training in the field of tourism, hospitality and food and beverage. EnjoyItalyGo is my new project, of which I am the founder, through which I want to make known the genius loci of Italy in the world. I am in love with Italy and together with the talented editors of EIG and the many professionals I work with, I will let you discover it! Linkedin. 
Rome: In Via Nicola Maria Nicolai, the parking area has been rearranged, with the addition of three special spots for people with disabilities, the improvement of the public lighting system, the planting of new trees and the restyling of the hydraulic system has also taken place.
Jack Davidson Walmsleyhttp://www.enjoyitalygo.com
Jack Walmsley, British blood but Italian in his heart. Passionate about Rugby, Food, Nature and tourism, have been working as Concierge in 5 stars hotels for many years. He's been working for EnjoyItalyGo since 2019.

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