Olea europaea, commonly known as the Olive tree, is an evergreen fruit tree. It is thought to be native to Asia Minor and Syria, but over the centuries has spread throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a slow-growing but long-lived plant which, under optimal conditions, can grow to a height of 15-20 metres.
It is a drought-resistant plant and has a great ability to adapt to the most hostile conditions. It is cultivated very widely in Italy, where the privileged areas that give rise to products of the highest quality are found mainly in central-southern and insular Italy and in the lake district of Lombardy, Trentino and Veneto, although the greatest concentration of olive trees is found in Puglia, where many of them date back to the period of the Spanish domination in the 17th century.
The olive tree is therefore a plant that is particularly representative of the Italian landscape and has been used by man for various purposes, such as its fruit and wood over the centuries, and today as an ornamental plant as well.
Together with the oak, it is the plant that is depicted in the emblem of the Italian Republic and symbolizes the nation's desire for peace.