Best Italian Olive Oil: Top 7 Authentic Bottles Most Recommended By Experts

Italian olive oil’s culinary crown jewels shine from a mix of tradition, geography, and dedicated craftsmanship. Centuries of olive cultivation have led to diverse, flavorful varieties specific to different regions, each boasting unique aromas and tastes. From the grassy notes of Ligurian oil to the peppery warmth of Sicilian, these regionally distinct expressions offer unmatched depth and versatility. They are known for enriching dishes from simple salads to savory pasta, making the best Italian olive oils treasured ingredients in kitchens worldwide.

The story of Italian olive oil is a timeless tale of liquid gold stretching back millennia. Wild olives found their way to Italy’s shores as early as the 8th century BC, courtesy of Greek colonists. These ancient Greeks planted the first trees in southern Italy, laying the foundation for a love affair that continues to this day. By the time of the Roman Empire, olive oil had become a vital part of life, fueling lamps, enriching cuisine, and even playing a role in religious rituals. The Romans spread their olive culture throughout the Mediterranean, further solidifying Italy’s reputation as the cradle of this precious oil.

Through centuries of wars, famines, and cultural shifts, the olive tree remained a symbol of resilience and prosperity, its golden fruit weathering the storms and nourishing generations. Today, Italy boasts hundreds of distinct olive varieties, each expressing the unique terroir of its region, from the fiery pungency of Tuscan oil to the delicate fruitiness of Sicilian groves. With every drizzle of this liquid gold, you taste not just the sun-drenched Italian soil, but the echoes of an ancient history steeped in passion, tradition, and an enduring love for the olive tree.

Why chefs recommend Italian olive oil:

  • Health Benefits: Beyond its deliciousness, Italian olive oil packs a nutritional punch. It’s rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, making it a guilt-free indulgence that contributes to a well-balanced diet.
  • Flavor: Forget bland drizzles! Italian olive oil boasts a captivating symphony of nuances, from grassy and fruity to peppery and spicy, depending on the region and olive variety. These complexities elevate dishes far beyond ordinary oil, adding character and depth to salads, pasta, vegetables, and more.
  • Regional Renaissance: Italy’s diverse landscape gives birth to a kaleidoscope of olive oil expressions. Liguria’s grassy Taggiasca, Tuscany’s fruity Frantoio, and Sicily’s fiery Nocellara all offer unique personalities, allowing chefs to tailor their dishes to specific regional flavors and traditions.
  • Beyond Extra Virgin: While Extra Virgin reigns supreme, other Italian olive oils like “Virgin” and “Lampante” hold valuable roles in the kitchen. Chefs cherish their distinct properties, using them for frying, marinades, or adding smokiness, showcasing the full spectrum of olive oil’s culinary potential.
  • Passion at Every Press: Italian olive oil isn’t just a commodity; it’s a cultural treasure. From generations-old groves to meticulous pressing techniques, passion infuses every step of the process.

Chefs recognize and appreciate Italy’s dedication to the culinary arts, knowing it translates into superior quality and unparalleled taste in their olive oils. So, next time you reach for a drizzle, consider sampling one of the top seven best Italian olive oil varieties. We looked to nine expert reviews to find the most recommended bottles based on their depth of flavor, culinary versatility, and rich heritage making these oils indispensable tools for any chef. Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

Olive tree bearing fruit photo by Lucio Patone on Unsplash
Olive tree bearing fruit (Photo by Lucio Patone on Unsplash)

The List: Best Italian Olive Oils, According to Experts


1. Bertolli

Bertolli olive oil is a staple in many kitchens. While some praise its affordability and accessibility, others prefer the nuances of higher-quality, regionally specific olive oils. Bell Italia raves, “The first brand we propose is Bertolli Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil. With a rich history spanning over 150 years, Bertolli exemplifies a family that has successfully transformed their love for good food and genuine ingredients into a global powerhouse.”

Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Italy Best praises the versatility of Bertolli oils: “What makes Bertolli one of the best olive oil brands? The oil is great for cooking at high temperatures and due to its pleasant flavor, you can also use it for frying, baking, and grilling. Bertolli extra virgin olive oil is highly valued, and customers mention that the price is reasonable compared to what you might find with other real olive oil brands.”

For more about the history of this famous household brand, Italy We Love You writes, “Founded in Lucca in 1865, the Bertolli spouses’ small oil shop soon conquered the Tuscan market, eventually expanding and gaining fame abroad, especially among the communities of Italian emigrants to America. Today the company, without ever forgetting its artisan imprint, exports its products to 45 Countries. Bertolli is the best-selling olive oil in the world.”

2. Monini

Monini olive oil, hailing from Italy’s Spoleto region since 1920, offers a wide range of extra virgin options. Olive Knowledge says, “Since 1920 and handed down to three generations, Monini has been a premium, yet reasonably priced, Italian olive oil brand. The fact that Monini Extra Virgin Olive Oil is appropriate for everything is a plus. For instance, whether you are cooking soup, salad, meat, or vegetables, Monini will liven up your dish.”

Monini Olive Oil
Monini Olive Oil

Its popularity stems from its consistent quality and diverse flavor profiles, catering to home cooks and chefs alike. This Way To Italy describes Monini’s claims of quality. “Monini Organic Extra Virgin Oil is one of the best Italian olive oil brands you can buy in Italy. It has the ICEA, or Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification, that ensures the olives are organically treated so consumers can be assured that this pure Italian oil is purely organic, too,” they write in their review.

What goes into the Monin production process? “Most of their olive oils make for great everyday oils but our favorite is the Premium Extra Virgin which has a beautiful color and a slight, spicy kick to it. This is a slightly more expensive option which is why we recommend it as a finishing oil,” elaborates Eating Around Italy.

3. Colavita

Colavita olive oil boasts a balanced character – fruity and vibrant with a subtle peppery finish. It’s a versatile workhorse, equally at home drizzled over bruschetta or enriching pasta sauces. Yummy Bazaar says, “a worldwide renowned Italian extra virgin olive oil brand, was founded in the Molise region of Italy in 1938 by Giovanni and Felice Colavita. The company is a member of the NAOOA (The North American Olive Oil Association), and a bearer of the quality seal, so authentic Italian olive oil is guaranteed to prettify your pantry.”

Colavita Premium Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil 34 Oz Bottle
Colavita Premium Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil 34 Oz Bottle

Colavita is a great budget-friendly option. And the flavor is not something to overlook, either. “We found this Italian olive oil floral with a nice aroma and a touch of peppery flavor. While some bottles in this category were insipid or watery, this hits the middle of the mark in terms of pungency (that is to say, it’s neither a mild flavor nor an extremely robust flavor—it fell into a happy place in between). Tasters also noted flavors of bitter almond, green pepper, marjoram, and citrus,” adds Epicurious.

Olive Knowledge gives some details on the company history: “The Colavita family has been devotedly working for four generations to put top-notch items on kitchen tables globally. With a smooth texture and a rich combination of fruity and spicy flavors, Colavita Premium Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the ideal everyday olive oil.”

4. De Cecco

De Cecco’s olive oils, hailing from diverse Italian regions, offer a spectrum of flavors. From the light and fruity “Fruttato” to the robust and peppery “Classico,” they cater to both subtle cravings and bolder palates, adding authentic Italian depth to any dish. Bell Italia explains, “By choosing De Cecco, you will bring the strength and excellence of a globally recognized and revered Italian brand to your [dishes]. De Cecco meticulously selects the finest oils from Italy and Europe, ensuring a truly exceptional and unparalleled taste experience for consumers. It comes as no surprise that De Cecco extra virgin olive oil is highly sought after by our international customers, with orders even filling entire trucks!”

De Cecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Classico, Cold Extraction, Great for Cooking & Smooth Taste, 101.4 Fl Oz
De Cecco Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Classico

There is plenty of variety that comes from this brand. According to Eating Around Italy, “They produce six different kinds, all characterized by a green/golden color and the smell of sweet cut grass (this is a good thing when we are talking about olive oil!). Their oil is perfectly balanced between bitter and spicy with fruity body, making them ideal for cooking and finishing.”

Italy We Love You makes some observations of De Cecco olive oil’s characteristics. “De Cecco extra virgin olive oil is a green-colored oil with golden yellow reflections, characterized by the intense and persistent aroma of freshly cut grass. On the palate it has a strong bitter and spicy flavor perfectly balanced with the scent,” they add in their review.

5. Carapelli

Carapelli Olive Oil produces an extensive range from delicate extra virgin to robust unfiltered options, offering home cooks and chefs alike a taste of Tuscan sunshine bottled. Bell Italia claims, “Among Carapelli’s extensive range, we proudly recommend Oro Verde (meaning ‘green gold’). This extraordinary 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil boasts a truly unique taste profile. Lively, intense, and fruity, it is best enjoyed in its raw form, elevating dishes such as pinzimonio, salads, and carpaccio.”

Carapelli Oro Verde EVOO
Carapelli Oro Verde EVOO

Its long-standing heritage shines through in the quality and variety. Eating Around Italy says that the oil makes for an elegant table condiment as well. Why? “This is one of our top choices for packaging as well. It’s simple and beautiful while functional: the bottles are glass, and dark in color for keeping your oil at its best for the longest possible time. Our favorite is the Oro Verde,” they add.

Italy We Love You reviews the many positive attributes of this brand, “In the wide assortment of Carapelli, ‘Oro Verde’ is a 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil with a unique taste. Lively, intense, and fruity, it is ideal to be tasted raw. In dark green glass to protect from UV radiation, the bottle guarantees the best preservation of color, flavor, and perfume.”

6. Clemente

Clemente olive oil takes pride in their heritage of tradition. They offer extra virgin varieties that range from smooth and mild to bold. According to Bell Italia, “Clemente goes beyond being a mere oil producer, as it embodies a commitment to valuing its product and the land it originates from… This remarkable extra virgin olive oil boasts a robust and intense flavor profile, elevating the taste of any dish it accompanies. The bottle itself is a work of art, while the content it holds is truly precious.”

Clemente Organic Dauno Gargano Extra Virgin Olive Oil D.O.P. | 17 Fluid Ounce | Pack of 3
Clemente Organic Dauno Gargano Extra Virgin Olive Oil D.O.P. | 17 Fluid Ounce | Pack of 3

Italy We Love You asserts that Clemente is process-focused to ensure quality. “Today Clemente is a leading company in the olive sector and a major player on the Italian and international markets. The Clemente oil company gives value to its product by directly managing all stages of the production process, from the care of the immense expanses of olive groves to the management of modern and certified processing and bottling plants,” they write.

Italy Best raves about the clean label and production aspect of this oil: “Clemente extra virgin olive oil is considered a good Italian olive oil brand as it is 100% unfiltered. As we have mentioned earlier, when the oil is unfiltered, no chemicals are used. The olives are pressed and bottled right away thus ensuring an intense flavor. Clemente oil also does not contain any GMO and it is gluten-free.”

7. Filippo Berio

Filippo Berio’s olive oils, boasting over 150 years of Italian heritage, offer a range of options from mild and buttery to fruity and complex. Olive Knowledge says, “With a more than 150-year history, Filippo Berio is one of the most well-known olive oil brands in the world. It has endless uses, from making fish, meat, vegetables, to salad dressing, spread over pasta, sauces, gravies, marinating, or roasting.”

Filippo Berio
Filippo Berio EVOO

Their signature green glass bottle, a familiar sight in kitchens worldwide, speaks to a tradition of quality and reliability. Eating Around Italy notes, “This is one of the most common olive oil brands in America today, but it has been around since 1867 when it was founded in Italy. Although their oils are not 100% Italian, they are produced in Italy, meaning they are held to high-quality production standards that other countries may not have. Despite the fact that the oils are blends, they are wonderful base-line oils from which to start and gain an appreciation for olive oil.”

Today enthusiastically recommends this oil. Why? “That Parm Dip is going to taste pretty darn amazing with Filippo Berio’s extra-virgin olive oil. It’s robust, it’s complex, and it pairs flawlessly with other intense flavors like Parmesan cheese, herbs and red pepper flakes. Bread is obviously amazing on its own, but when dipped in this bad boy, be prepared to drool.”

How olive oil differs across Italy’s regions:

If you are planning a trip to Italy, you’ll be able to dive into plenty of varieties of olive oil right from the source. StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton, lived in Italy for three months in 2022. “The best way to sample olive oil from different regions of Italy is to visit producers on their farms in the Italian countryside,” says Naughton. “You can usually book a visit and indulge in freshly-milled olive oil and, often, wine that is also produced from vineyards on the same property. Plus, this is a great opportunity to meet locals and immerse yourself in the culture and tradition of olive oil production.”

Italy’s olive oil tapestry is a vibrant one, woven with threads of geography, tradition, and the unique character of each region. From north to south, the flavor journey takes you on a delicious exploration:

North: Delicate and subtle, the oils of the north reflect the cooler climate and lighter soil. Think Liguria, where Leccino olives whisper of green apples and fresh herbs, or Trentino-Alto Adige, where delicate Frantoio shines with fruity notes and a hint of almond.

Central: As you move south, the oils gain body and intensity. Tuscany, the heartland of olive oil, boasts a robust blend of Sangiovese and Moraiolo, delivering a peppery punch with hints of artichoke and black pepper. Umbria’s Moraiolo takes center stage, offering a grassy aroma and a pleasantly bitter finish.

South: The sun-drenched south explodes with bolder flavors. Puglia, the undisputed king of production, offers intense fruity notes of tomato and green banana from its Coratina olives. Calabria delivers a fiery kick with its Carolea, while Sicily’s Nocellara del Belice delights with hints of citrus and almond.

Beyond Regions: Even within regions, terroir plays a crucial role. Tuscan oil from the coast differs from its hilly counterparts, while Sicilian oils from volcanic slopes sing a different tune than those from fertile valleys. This intricate tapestry offers endless layers of discovery for adventurous palates.

Remember: Olive oil is a living product, its character shaped by factors beyond region. The year’s weather, harvest time, and milling technique all play a role. Embrace the diversity, experiment with different regions, and let your taste buds become your guide in this flavorful odyssey.

With each drop, you savor not just the sun-kissed bounty of Italy, but the soul of a land where olive oil is more than an ingredient, it’s a cultural cornerstone, a culinary treasure, and a liquid history waiting to be tasted.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.


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