Thursday, June 21, 2012

Assisi: The Olive Tree

HB: This week we traveled to Assisi where the St. Francis Basilica is located. It is a smaller, quaint town full of shops and churches. There were many nuns walking around the town and you felt as though you were in another time period. It was really neat. Within the shops, there was a ton of shops filled with different items made of olive wood. Olive wood is beautiful wood with many different grains of color incorporated into the wood. Olive wood comes from the same trees where many Italians get their olives and make their olive oil from, so the olive trees are used for multiple industries within the Mediterranean lifestyle. They really utilize every part of the olive tree and have turned all three of these aspects into major industries. The olive wood is used for cabinetry, kitchen utensils, bowls, and jewelry. This olive wood has major value throughout Italy. Olive trees are usually cut down only when they cannot be harvested any longer so they get the most value out of the tree as possible. The olive trees are not the biggest trees so when they make bigger pieces of cabinetry from the wood they usually have to piece together multiple pieces of wood together. Other products from the olive tree that we have repeatedly seen throughout our stay here in Italy are the olives, which are incorporated into the cuisine here in almost all ways possible. It is on pizzas, salads, and in pasta. The olive oil is also a major part of the Italian way of life. It has great health benefits and is used in almost all meals in Italy. The olive tree is a monumental part of the Italian culture.

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