Everybody knows the popoularity of the Italian olive oil, expecially the one of Tuscany.
But do you know how it is produced? Have you ever experienced the ‘olive harvest tradition‘ in Italy/Tuscany?

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October and November in Tuscany can mean a lot of things, like a great variability both in weather conditions and in temperatures, chestnut festivals…but most of all this month means to all Tuscan people and tourists that the olive harvest season has come back.

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The precise date for the olive harvest varies depending on the zone, the variety of olive and the climatic conditions over the past Summer. It normally begins in the middle of October or first week of November and ends in mid-December, but it must be done before the ripe fruit begins to fall off the tree, when the olives have reached the maximum size and the pulp begins to lose a little firmness.
The olive harvest in Tuscany is an important social opportunity where families get together to pick the olives and press them for the first extra virgin olive oil.

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This makes it possible to pick the largest number of olives per tree and have the maximum oil yield, while maintaining quality levels. Normally 100 kg of olives yield 16 -18 kg of oil.

This means that in this months all the olive groves, from the largest firms to the smallest holiday farms, are populated by local families, helped by friends and labourers, all busy carrying on a tradition that lasts from centuries now.

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The harvest is very simple, it consist in picking olives using nets and baskets and some special pliers, or even with bare hands. Under each olive tree, a large net is placed and serves the function of collecting the olives as they gradually fall from the plant. Once all of the olives have been collected off the tree, the net is removed and the small fruits are put in baskets or bales.
This process can also be done with the use of machines, to accelerate the collection.

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Keep in mind that the climate where the olives grow, the ripeness of the olives at harvest time, the variety of the trees and other little things are all elements that influence the final result and features of each batch of olive oil.

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What’s sure is that, after this kind of hard work, the olive growers of Tuscany will traditionally reward family and friends who helped out with the harvest; sometimes with traditional foods and drinks, sometimes with free stays in a farm.

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This is what we do for making our fantactic extra vergin olive oil: our Villa Sensano olive oil!

The walls and gateways of  Volterra bear witness to the grandeur of the Etruscan period. This Etruscan city wall was built during a period of time that stretched from the sixth century BC to the last decades of the fifth century BC.

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It northernmost segment boasts a surplus area known as the ‘Guardiola’; this segment suggests that the structure was enlarged during the IV-III centuries BC.

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The first of its two medieval walls were built from 1200 to 1240, thanks to the efforts of the entire city, including the clergy. The second communal wall was designed to strengthen and complete the previous one; it dates back to 1260-1266.

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At that time, the walls were equipped with barbicans and surrounded by ditches.

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The Gateway of San Francesco was also built during said period. Once completed, the structure was equipped with several lookout towers, including several corner towers and those from which watchmen kept guard.

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Villa Sensano is situated 17 km from Volterra, one step away from the Etruscan world.

slider1A Kermesse of food & wine

Volterragusto, one of the most important and awaited for food & wine fairs in the Pisa area, celebrates, in the spring edition, the Marzuolo Truffle, and in the autumn the fine White Truffle which the hills of Volterra are rich in.

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“Autumn 2017″ Very Special Edition…

TRUFFLE, EXCELLENCE GOURMET, ART, HISTORY:
VOLTERRA CELEBRATES WITH A SPECIAL EDITION THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EARTH

For the occasion, together with the exquisite truffles there will be the whole range of local high-quality produce, such as wine, olive oil, bread, cheese, salami, chocolate and much more.
The courtyards and the palazzi of the town, exceptionally opened to the public, become stops along the journey to delight taste buds FILO FILO, BOCCON BOCCONE, the now fashionable formula that leads you through the most hidden and charming treasures of the town.

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An appointment for gourmands and professionals enhanced by meetings, tasting workshops, tasting stalls, where gastronomy and culture, a taste of local tradition and some of the most extraordinary and less known spots – that Volterra offers – will be intertwined.

Relais Villa Sensano is situated at 15 km from Volterra, you can enjoy the nature, art and of course the fair, booking a wonderfull apartment for a magical week-end in the Tuscany’s traditions!

21-22-28-29-30-31st October and 1st November

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The elegant and suggestive Tuscan (and Chianti) countryside is the refined expression of an equilibrium between a rough and essential farm life with an actual “working” home and elegant showy estates. The harmony between the landscape and architecture developed slowly, year by year, and reflects the eternal dispute between Siena and Florence who fought for the lands between the clash of arms and strokes of the paintbrush for centuries.

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The first manor-like country houses originated during the Middle Ages in the form of castles and fortified homes, due to the political and militare instability of the two cities. Back then, Tuscany was continually vexed by invasions, wars and sickness, an unstable and insecure powder keg, where there were often battles for a small piece of land and the city borders changed daily.

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They say that “Chianti” owes its name to the clash of arms heard between Florence and Siena. In 1260, the Battle of Monteaperti marked the greatest victory of the Sienese over the Florentines, cited by Dante in Canto X of “Inferno” (“lo strazio e ‘l grande scempio / che fece l’Arbia colorato in rosso”), but only a few decades afterwards, the Florentine Guelphs had regained supremacy. In the meantime, in Florence, the Italian language was being refined through the works of the three fathers of the language, Dante, Petrarca e Boccaccio, and Siena, especially during the 1300s, was living an unequaled artistic splendor.

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A few decades afterwards, Florence filled the history pages with the art of the Renaissance.  With arms deposed – Florence definitively conquered Siena in 1555 – the country became architectonically rich with more refined structures, including magnificent Medici villas, sumptuous coundtry residences built during the hegemony of the Medici family in Florence. The 1700s and 1800s then contributed to decorating the countryside with graceful neo-classical villas. Today, looking over all at these villas, although with different architectural styles depending on the era in which they were built, we see a harmonious and common definition of the most stately beauty: they are often reached by sinuous unpaved roads flanked by cypresses leading to a magnificent wrought iron main entrance and Relais Villa Sensano is a perfect example of this hystoric tradition.

Villa Sensano farmhouse in Tuscany, Italy

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The gardens are geometic and calming. The limonaia carry the scent of lemon blossoms. All around are woods of oaks, chestnuts and holms, often part of hunting reserves which isolate the majestic properties.

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Inside we find precious and refined furnishings, made by hand in wrought iron, with brocade drapes and fabrics in linen and cotton, high ceilings, ballrooms, enormous fireplaces with engraved family crests, floors of Carrara marble and terracotta from Impruneta, and stone staircases.

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Elegant country life includes administering your own agriculture holdings, above all the noble vineyards and olive groves.

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“We have just returned from a really amazing trip to Tuscany staying in Villa Sensano. We were a family of four and the apartment was well appointed, spacious and very clean.

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It is part of a beautifully restored country house complex that is set in an idyllic Tuscan hills location, close enough to all the major towns in Tuscany for day trips.

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Frederica and Lavinia made us feel extremely welcome and their friendliness and advice really added to the enjoyment of our stay. It was a really peaceful getaway with the added bonus of a well run country restaurant about 100 yards away.

We were all able to relax and enjoy the holiday.

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Just what we needed and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.”

Sarah S.