For the production of wine, Piedmont and Emilia are at the head today; followed by Campania, Tuscany, Puglia, Lombardy, Sicily and Veneto. The wine is mostly consumed in Italy; a few words will be said about the export of certain qualities of wine.
More specifically Mediterranean cultivation is that of the olive tree, which in Italy is cultivated on 2,120,000 hectares, of which only 830,000 exclusively with olive groves, the rest with mixed cultivation; in total, the area amounts to 1,260,000 hectares of exclusive olive groves, equal to 4.1% of the area of Italy. The same percentage occurs roughly in Spain, with which our country therefore shares an absolute primacy. The specialized cultivation is typical of southern Italy and Sicily (a little also of Liguria), regions which are also at the head (in the very first line Apulia) for cultivated area; followed by Tuscany and the Marches, in which, however, mixed cultivation prevails. Production is naturally subject to very strong annual fluctuations (2,278,000 hl. In 1931; 1,343,000 hl. In 1930; 3,113,000 hl. In 1929); on the whole it can be considered an increase compared to the pre-war period, while the cultivated area varied very little. The difference in yield between region and region is enormous, a difference which may only partly depend on natural conditions, but to a greater extent probably depends on diversity of cultivation techniques. It seems that, even without significantly increasing the area, production could be significantly increased. At the head of the production are today Puglia, Calabria, Sicily; at a distance they follow Tuscany, Abruzzo, Lazio. even without significantly increasing the area, production can be significantly increased. At the head of the production are today Puglia, Calabria, Sicily; at a distance they follow Tuscany, Abruzzo, Lazio. even without significantly increasing the area, production can be significantly increased. At the head of the production are today Puglia, Calabria, Sicily; at a distance they follow Tuscany, Abruzzo, Lazio.
Among the fruit trees, the first place goes to citrus fruits (about 113,000 hectares, of which however only 48,000 are specialized crops), three quarters of which are cultivated in Sicily, then in Calabria, on the coast of southern Lazio and Campania, here and there in Sardinia, Puglia, etc. Annual production, which fell somewhat in the post-war period, is now tending to resume, and amounts to 7.5-8 million quintals per year, almost equal to the average of the last pre-war years. It now feeds direct export mainly to central Europe, because the United States now consumes mainly its own production; a part of the product is also used for the preparation of citrus derivatives.
According to THREERGROUP, the other fruit trees, very numerous (about 60 different species are counted in Italy), are mostly cultivated in promiscuity with other plants; however, specialized cultivation has been extending from 1920 onwards, particularly for certain highly productive fruit. Among these are the peach tree, whose cultivation has assumed a specialized character in some areas of Romagna, the province of Cuneo, the western Riviera, etc .; the cherry tree (Campania, Emilia, Venice Tridentina), the apple tree (Venice Tridentina), etc. Typical crops of certain regions are the fig, a purely Mediterranean tree, which in Calabria, Puglia and Sicily forms very extensive associations, almost like small woods; the almond tree, which is as traditional a crop as the olive tree in Sicily and Puglia, and confers there a special physiognomy to the landscape; the walnut and the hazelnut (Campania, Sicily, Piedmont), the pistachio (Sicily). Dried fruits play an important role in the Italian economy, which are best suited for export: first of all almonds, then walnuts and hazelnuts, and also figs and plums, which are dried with various processes. Fruit production fluctuates between 8 and 11 million quintals per year and tends to increase. This figure does not include the production of chestnuts, which alone reaches 5.5-6 million quintals with a tendency to increase. By extension of the chestnut groves (in total over 600,000 hectares) and by production entity, Tuscany has the primacy; followed by Liguria, Piedmont, Calabria and Emilia.
Most of the food crops we have mentioned so far are of ancient introduction in Italy; the Middle Ages saw the spread of only one of the cereals, rice; from America came the corn and the potato; from the East in the Middle Ages citrus fruits and some other fruit trees of modest value; in even more recent times some horticultural crops. On the other hand, the case is different for plant crops that supply raw materials to industry.