Of all the agricultural regions of Italy, the Lake Garda area of Trentino must surely be one of the most unexpectedly diverse. At 46 degrees, claims to be the most northerly limit of commercial olive growing in the world. It even manages to throw in some lemon groves as well for good measure. By rights it should be far too cold in winter for such crops to flourish but then,one has to take into account the extraodinary moderating effect of Lake Garda itself, which creates a Mediterranean climate in an Alpine setting. It’s why olive trees have been grown in this area for over two millennia.
The area sits in the foothills of the Dolomites, and it’s a challenging environment; many of the hillsides are so steep that olive groves and vineyards must be grown on terraces. Such a labour-intensive landscape requires a significant and reliable market to sustain it. In Roman times that market came not only from the surrounding plains but even as far north as what is now Germany. Then, as now, olive oil was a popular and important food but it was also an essential source of […]