Food & Drink | May 9, 2022 6:00 am

Olive Oil Is Now Made at the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Old Estate

Who doesn't love olive oil with some history thrown in?

Hadrian
The face of Hadrian on an ancient Roman coin.
Wikimedia/Creative Commons

You don’t hear the phrase “fit for a king” much these days, and you hear the phrase “fit for an emperor” even less. Chalk it up to a dearth of kings and emperors, perhaps. But it turns out that the old stomping grounds of an ancient emperor are now yielding delicious olive oil; one might say that the tag line writes itself.

The emperor in question is Hadrian, who ruled the Roman Empire in the second century, and whose primary legacy is the wall that bears his name in what’s now Britain. And, as a recent article at Atlas Obscura reveals, his onetime estate Villa Adriana is now home to a host of olive trees that produce 1,500 liters of olive oil annually.

Now, the trees on the estate were likely not there when Hadrian walked the earth — but the article notes that at least one dates to the 13th century. That’s the 52-foot-tall Albero Bello, one of at least seven distinct varieties of olive oil grown on the property.

An article from Olive Oil Times offers even more information on the estate, including the fact that Villa Adriana is a UNESCO World Heritage site. So if you are in the market for some olive oil and catch sight of a bottle of Olea Hadriani, know that there’s a lot of history nestled in there.