Olive growing and olive oil production in Sabina dates back more than 2,000 years ago, as evidenced by the presence of the oldest olive tree in Europe, near Farfa Abbey. Truly, the whole territory is scattered with olive mills and olive groves, to demonstrate the socio-cultural and economic importance that olive oil has gained in Sabina.
The extra virgin olive oil Sabina has obtained the PDO designation with Regulation (EC) n. 1263/96. The product specification states that the olives must be produced in the Sabina territory lying on the eastern bank of the Tiber river, specifically in 12 municipalities in the province of Rome and 34 in the province of Rieti. The oil can be obtained from the Carboncella, Leccino, Raja, Frantoio, Moraiolo, Olivastrone, Salviana, Olivago and Rosciola olive cultivars for at least 75%.
Other varieties present in the olive groves can be used up to a maximum of 25%. Hand picking allows the transportation of the olives to the mill, that are then washed under running water to remove excess soil, dust and leaves, and milled – within 24 hours – through mechanical and physical processes in order to retain the original characteristics of the fruit.
The oil is characterised by a golden yellow colour, with green hues when freshly produced, a fruity smell and a velvety, aromatic, sweet and uniform taste. It is more bitter when young. The total maximum acidity, expressed as oleic acid, is less than 0,6 g per 100 g of oil.