30 – Itri Table Olives

Itrana olives are also suitable as table olives.

ol2aWe had hand-picked some especially plump olives to prepare for preserving in brine.  Olives, freshly harvested from the trees are inedible and need to be treated to remove the astringent bitter taste.  Filippo showed us how to partially slice the olives with a knife before placing them into a brine solution.  These then must be left to cure for a period of about 5 or 6 months, after which they become soft.  They take on a distinctive bitter flavour, with a hint of wine vinegar.  They are absolutely delicious.

There are in fact two types of Itrana table olives:

“White” which in reality are a golden green colour with pale pink markings, harvested early in the season whilst they are only semi ripe


“Black” which are actually a deep purple colour, harvested in March or April, when the olives are fully ripened. Although the Itrani olives are mainly cultivated in the Itri area, they are more commonly marketed abroad, mainly to America, as “Olive di Gaeta”, despite the fact that they are cultivated around Itri and not Gaeta !!!

Top chefs recommend that recipes such as “Spaghetti alla Puttanesca” or “Straccetti alla Marinara” require only the best ingredients, such as “Gaeta”  (Itri !!! ) Olives.




5 thoughts on “30 – Itri Table Olives

  1. Hello! What a wonderful blog! I have been researching Latium/Lazio for a gift for my father in law, whose family came from Arpino. I would love to purchase some of your oil!! I feel like I have stumbled upon a hidden gem when I read your blog, thank you so much for sharing so openly!!

    Some day we would all love to come and volunteer!! Please let me know if you have any online availability for purchasing ANYTHING from your region!! Thank you so very much, my best to you! Colene


  2. I’m home for lunch and reading your blog – olives – absolutely fascinating! I love the photo on the other entry of the myriad of olives of every shade What a fantastic photo! It reminds me of a Wed morning in Agrigento Sicily market – my mother and I perusing the myriads of olives for sale displayed on tables in tubs – they were so gorgeous!

    It is snow here now, ice, cold cold and more cold – half gloomy today – the sun comes out now and then – and there you are in the Italian countryside concerning yourselves with – OLIVES! If I could transport myself, I would. I have seen Olive de Gaeta – now I shall really be enthralled when spotting such olives in the finer groceries – I can see myself now grabbing an unwary shopper and bragging, “My friends produce these olives!” (ok maybe not exactly those specific olives but close enough!) Ciao tutti! Lora

  3. Ciao NonnaLou – I just came across your nice comment on my blog from a few blogs back. Grazie for the kind words! I look forward to reading all about your Italian adventures. Buona giornata – Megan at Bella Vita in Liguria 🙂

  4. Hi! Found your blog by accident but have chatted with you before on some of the other Itri sites around the web! Your post of olive harvests hits a sentimental chord with me – I have been working so hard on the genealogy of Val’s family and all the friends in Itri – we always waited for huge shipments of oil and cracked green olives from Italy from Val’s mama each year! Family still harvest the olives on the farm but of course, shipping has made those types of packages not fair to them to bear. But sometimes we still get those wonderful surprises in the mail! My blog is also about Itri in part and about family – come and visit!
    Bonnie and Valentino!

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