The territory

About 150,000 olive trees are cultivated by the members of L'Olivicola Casolana. The olive groves are located in the municipalities of Casoli, Palombaro, Guardiagrele, Altino, Archi, S. Eusanio del Sangro, but the greatest concentration is found on Piano Laroma, a plateau that stretches at the foot of the Maiella. The image of this expanse of olive groves on the white soils of the plateau, rich in limestone gravel, from which the Maiella forms the backdrop, is striking.

In addition to the beauty and uniqueness of this type of soil, mention must also be made of its high drainage capacity: during rainy periods, the olive trees do not absorb too much water, while in dry years, the stones on the surface act as protection, blocking rising damp. This particular characteristic of the soil, the altitude and the hot Abruzzo sun create that special microclimate that gives the fruit unique properties to produce oil and table olives of the highest sensorial and nutritional value.

Olive cultivation in these territories is very ancient. The cultivated varieties are the autochthonous ones such as the intosso, the gentile di Chieti, the cucco, the crognalegno and, only after the 1956 frost, the leccino was introduced, as in the whole of Abruzzo. The areas cultivated by our members are close to 1,000 hectares, of which about 200 hectares are organically farmed.

CLUVIAE

The Ancient Roman Town Hall

Strolling through the olive groves of Piano Laroma, you may come across the remains of walls from the Roman Empire, a glimpse of opus reticulatum lining the roadway. These are the remains of the ancient Romanesque municipality named Cluviae , whose inhabitants were the Carecini.

The importance of Cluviae is also evidenced by the discovery of a theatre. Cluviae is mentioned by Livy, who describes it in 311 BC as a walled city, and by Tacitus as the home of the Stoic Helvidius Priscus. We read in the bronze slab dated 5 May 384 A.D. ortato sibi honore patriam civitumque Cluviatum amare ac diligere non desit -- that is: increased his honour, he did not cease to love and protect the homeland of the Cluvian citizens.

The suggestion of this distant civilisation, the geographical layout of the Piano Laroma plateau, between the mountains and the sea, are the roots on which the traditions and centuries-old oil culture of its inhabitants rest. This is why we have decided to dedicate a line of our products to Cluviae.

The Intosso

The Intosso is a dual-purpose olive variety that characterises the unspoilt landscape of Piano Laroma, in the municipality of Casoli, one of Italy's most beautiful villages. Right here on this plateau, characterised by soils rich in calcareous gravel, at the foot of the Maiella, intosso has found its ideal environment. The intosso plant is small in size; it has adapted to living in our territory, withstanding snow and cold so well that it can hardly produce below an altitude of 350 metres.

Table Intosso

The intosso for table consumption is harvested from the end of September exclusively by hand only when it is green. Nets and facilitators cannot be used for harvesting as is done with those for oil, because the fruit would be ruined if it fell onto the stony ground. Harvesting by hand involves slow rhythms and smaller quantities of product than can be harvested by mechanisation.

Processing

Once harvested, the table olives are selected, defoliated, dehusked and delivered to the cooperative. Here, the olives are graded and processed. In order to be eaten, in fact, the olives must be sweetened, or 'ndosse. And it is precisely to this practice that Gennaro Finamore traces the name of the intosso variety in his Vocabolario Dell'Uso Abruzzese of 1880. The method we use for debittering is the SIVIGLIANO method..

A Tradition at Risk

The Liva 'ndossa in these parts is a tradition. Everyone takes care of the olives to consume them throughout the year. Our cooperative was born precisely for this typical product. Today, unfortunately, it has become an increasingly less widespread activity. Over the years, the hard work of its production and the uncertainty of the harvest have been compounded by competition from more productive and cheaper cultivars, first Italian, then Spanish and Greek. And, inevitably, over time there has been a slow and silent abandonment of the production of the intosso da mensa. We at l'Olivicola Casolana are proud to carry on this tradition. Today, we still harvest table intosso da mensa by hand, as it used to be done in the past, and work it with pride to make it known throughout Italy and the world. The ​liva 'ndossa is now a Slow Food Presidium.