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IN SEARCH OF THE ETRUSCAN “GREEN GOLD”

Getting lost on the country roads of Tuscia is a unique and unforgettable experience that must be lived at least once in a lifetime. Among these roads, the Strada dell’Olio DOP (PDO Olive Oil Road) of Canino is undoubtedly one of the most captivating, allowing us to discover firsthand the incredibly deep roots that this land possesses, passing through the towns of Farnese, Ischia di Castro, Cellere, Tessennano, and Canino, neighboring the marvelous Lake Bolsena.

Etruscans, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans. Commercial exchanges characterized and brought fortune to Tuscia from the earliest centuries, especially those linked to olive oil production. Its trade began to spread as early as the 6th century BC, thanks to the Etruscans, the mysterious population whose origins are still difficult to decipher, but whose archaeological remains dot the entire Viterbo area. Among the most important sites, just a stone’s throw from the Strada dell’Olio, is Vulci, immersed in a splendid archaeological park characterized by the passage of the Fiora River and Lake Pellicone.

What continues to make the extra virgin olive oil of this land famous worldwide are its great sensory qualities: the intense green color that makes it almost alive, the exceptional balance of bitterness and spiciness, and the characteristic scent of fresh fruit.

It’s also thanks to these values that oils like Caninese have managed to win world awards and the coveted D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin) label. To experience these values firsthand, we can visit one of the many farms in the area. Among them, we cannot miss the Antica Tuscia Battaglini Olive Mill, located among the gentle hills surrounding Lake Bolsena, from which a breathtaking panorama can be admired. Another not-to-be-missed location is the Riccardo Pantalissi Agricultural Company in the nearby Cellere area, specializing in jams, fresh pasta, and other handmade local products. A short distance away, for those wanting to reach the charming Montefiascone and its Rocca dei Papi, we can also discover the Oleificio Presciuttini, the home of the EVO oil “…diNotte,” winner of the prestigious Gold Medal 2020 at the IOOC (International Olive Oil Competition) and produced in a limited series of just 1500 bottles. Another unmissable stop is at the nearby Azienda Agricola Il Molino, where not only can you taste the exquisite local oils, but you can also stay in the Granaio or Casale, two charming recently renovated rural residences to accommodate guests.

Through the more than 30,000 hectares of olive trees crossed by the Strada dell’Olio DOP, we can admire the unique beauty of this land, characterized not only by olive groves and mills but also by rich vineyards and vast forests that accompany us until we reach the coastline.

It’s precisely this proximity to the sea that allowed Tuscia to evolve from a landing point and safe haven for the Etruscans to the sun-kissed land that now attracts thousands of tourists annually and is renowned for its culinary excellence.

Once here, it’s impossible to miss the sight of vast lavender fields, like those of the Bio Lavanda della Tuscia Agricultural Company, known for producing essential oils through natural processes, preserving the characteristics and uniqueness of the flowers. From late June to early August, the whole area is bathed in a romantic and enchanting blue, as if the sea’s waves extend to touch Lake Bolsena.

History, tradition, and culinary culture blend throughout the area, giving rise to festivals, events, and celebrations that dot every month of the year, making Tuscia vibrant every day. Here, time slows down, allowing us to catch our breath and recharge from daily stress. Nature welcomes us, embracing and nurturing us, as is the case at the Wine-Relais with SPA of Podere di Marfisa, a historic estate sprawling over 23 hectares surrounded by the lush green lands between Farnese and Ischia di Castro, where we can enjoy local wines, savor delicacies at the Osteria Unicorno, and indulge in treatments inspired by ancient Etruscan rituals.

Evening transforms into a moment of entertainment and enjoyment as we reach the nearby Lazio coastline to admire the beauty of the Etruscan city of Tarquinia and savor the typical nightlife of the coastal towns of Montalto Marina and Marina di Tarquinia.

From sunrise to sunset, the locations surrounding the Strada dell’Olio DOP entertain and accompany us, just like the whispers of the ancient population that once resided here and that still awaits someone to decipher its secrets.

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