The PDO "Monti Iblei" extra virgin olive oil is produced only in the provinces of Catania, Ragusa and Siracusa, covering a surface of around 19.000 hectares. In this area the cultivation of olive trees is based on traditional systems and it is witnessed in its thousands of hectares of olive groves and hundreds of small oil mills, which extract oil by centrifuge, or by even more traditional systems, such as pressing system.
The spread of this crop has led to the birth of many companies which bottle and market the product and aim at developing in home markets and abroad.
In this varied scenery of nature and colours, with a huge variety of altitudes, the cultivation of olives is one of the most widespread agricultural landscapes, full of centuries-old trees.
Olive trees are scattered on hilly terrains or interspersed with other typical crops of this area, such as carob trees, almond trees and vineyards, or placed at the edges of citrus groves and areas cultivated with vegetables.
Fertilising is carried out in relation to the combined crop (in a balanced and controlled manner) and they are also provided for emergency irrigations and prunings in alternate years. The most cultivated varieties are: Moresca, Tonda Iblea and Nocellara Etnea or Verdese; to a lesser extent Biancolilla, Siracusana, Nocellara Messinese and those non-Sicilian varieties which have been recently introduced, such as Carolea and Coratina..
The harvesting of olives is carried out in a different manner depending on the altitude, from September to January.
The Hyblaean Mountains are a limestone range, emerged two millions of years ago from the bottom of the Mediterranean sea. Orogenic movements and a continuous lifting of the earth’s crust determined the current configuration of this territory, creating rocky masses, the typical caves softly sloping towards the sea and spectacular canyons.
The nature and the landscapes of this wide territory are a mirror of the history of a sunny and Mediterranean land, which has founded on agriculture and traditional crops, such as the olive groves, the basis of its own civilization.