Cooperativa Olivicola di Arnasco
The rural history of Arnasco, a small settlement in the entroterra of the province of Savona, dates back long before the Roman colonisation of the area. The name Arnasco itself has Germanic origins hinting to the beginning of the 11th century. Thanks to the commitment of the Cooperativa Olivicola di Arnasco (est. 1984), nowadays the centre represents a best practice of cultural and rural recovery. The Cooperativa was established in 1984, in a time when Italy’s post WWII industrial dream was – ideally –giving way to a “back to rurality” trend. Far from bucolic, this process was a difficult, hard one: olive farming in western Liguria is labour-intensive, a matter of dry stone walls, terraces and verticality that challenges technology. The Cooperativa’s activities put an end to depopulation, the nearby coast being a strong pole of attraction. President Luciano Gallizia proudly underlines the evolution of the Cooperativa, which now features nearly 300 members and 130 farming businesses featuring in the Sistema Informativo Agricolo Nazionale. The Cooperativa manages 160,000 square metres of olive groves and keeps records of all phases and looks after the restoration of dry stone walls (recently acknowledged in UNESCO’s intangible heritage list).
In 2011 Arnasco became the Italian seat of the World Alliance of Terraced Landscape, hosted in the local farming life museum. the tide has turned for the local olive cultivar, too. The Arnasca (or Pignola di Arnasco) features in the EVOs of the PDO Riviera Ligure-Riviera del Ponente Savonese subarea together with Taggiasca. Arnasca boasts constant, abundant yields: intensely fruity, it features high phenols. Last but not least, the Cooperativa Olivicola di Arnasco aims at reducing environmental impact, this being the case with integrated control systems against damages caused by olive flies.