Pove del Grappa: The Conca degli Ulivi

Pove del grappa: Vista PanoramicaPove del Grappa is historically a small enclave of excellence between the Brenta river, the city of Bassano and the mountain sacred to the Fatherland, Monte Grappa. It was the privileged seat of the Venetian patricians in search of peace. From its stone quarries sculptors such as Orazio Marinali, the master of late Baroque statuary, drew raw material. The tradition of stonemasons is flourishing, a quality of wood that makes the difference, especially in domestic flooring, linked to the centuries-old cultivation of the olive tree. By way of retaliation, the etymology of Pove refers to the Latin poveledum, meaning little poplar. The first traces of olive growing date back to 1263, as shown in the inventory of the properties of Ezzelino da Romano, the powerful lord of the time. The ecclesiastical authorities took advantage of it as a precious resource for enlightenment and worship needs. In 1352, at the time of the investiture of the local parish, Paolo di Cherso received about fifteen olive trees from the bishop of Padua, the Debrandino. It was tradition that the church was owed a small tribute of oil as a share of that produced by the various producers.

Oil, in the area, underwent a period of relative oblivion until the end of the 1920s, with the prevalence of more profitable crops, such as vines and mulberries.

In the 1920s, interest in this cultivation returned, also favored by legislation aimed at encouraging consortia.

The Pove area had favorable characteristics, good sun exposure, protection from the cold currents of the North, well-draining calcareous soil, a microclimate in which strengths and weaknesses alternate. Sharp drops in temperatures can be harmful to the harvest, just as it is true that the winter climate can be a natural antagonist of the olive fly.

In the rural economy of the time, oil had its own well-defined niche. He contributed to the making of panada, food to wean children or console the elderly. To give mothers their strength again after giving birth, they were offered bread fried in oil and a good glass of red wine.

Pove del Grappa, vista sui tornantiIn the eighties, the change of pace, as demonstrated by Orio Mocellin, historic mayor of the town and now National Councilor of the Oil Cities. The olive tree has emerged from the domestic dimension and has taken on a role more in line with the growing demand for quality which has rapidly spread throughout the country. Suffice it to say that in Italy there are three hundred and thirty olive groves.

The Oil Cities, founded in 1994, are present in eighteen regions, without forgetting that Italy is the country, in Europe, with the most widespread heritage at a territorial level.

It is thanks to the foresight of some entrepreneurs in the area that the olive harvesting and processing techniques have been refined, with early harvesting and milling by the following day.

In 2001 the DOP recognition arrived for the Veneto del Grappa oil, the following year the social cooperative's oil mill was inaugurated and in 2006 it entered the prestigious circuit of the Cities of Oil.

The results are tangible, the cultivation of the olive tree in the last ten years has more than doubled, taking over from others that, over time, had replaced it.

Wandering around the small town center you can perceive the change of pace, the olive tree has replaced magnolias and maritime pines in street furniture, also because it is ecologically an ideal plant.

In the vision of local producers there is no shortage of ideas and in collaboration with the local agricultural institute, first and foremost, the project of the Strada dell'Olio which from the Vicenza area leads to the Treviso area along the Pedemontana road which ideally connects to the Prosecco roads.

Among the small heroic producers of the Conca degli Ulivi, the history of Tenuta Gentile Bizzotto is significant. Gentile was an entrepreneur in the textile branch who in the sixties opened the new factory on the slopes of Grappa, framed by some centenary olive trees. He decided to keep that tradition alive and planted 200 olive trees for each of his two sons and Francesco one of these, he thought of maintaining and renewing this family tradition, not only by taking care of his parents' olive grove but, together with his wife Katrien, dedicating 250 new plants to each of the three children.


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