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La Bella di Cerignola is a table olive cultivar grown in a restricted area in the province of Foggia, in Souther Italy Apulia Region (Heel of Italy): the production area of “La Bella di Cerignola” includes the municipalities of Cerignola, Stornara, Stornarella and Orta Nova in the province of Foggia and the municipalities of San Ferdinando di Puglia and Trinitapoli in the province of Barletta-Andria-Trani, in the Apulia region. These municipalities are included in the area of the PDO “La Bella della Daunia“.

Bella di Cerignola

Bella di Cerignola, the typical table olive cultivar of Apulia region


Origin and Historical Outline

According to tradition, this variety of table olives was introduced into the Cerignola countryside from Spain around 1400. The olives, in fact, are tanned using the “Sevillian” method which recalls Spain and involves the following phases: selection of the olives, calibration, soda treatment, washings, brine, fermentation, calibration, packaging. However, the Spanish origin seems very doubtful given that this cultivar has never been present among the indigenous variants of the Iberian peninsula, in fact, it has never been present among the native cultivars of Spain. It can therefore be considered a native variety that derives from the Orchites olives of the Romans of the Cerignola countryside, in the ancient Daunia, an area now known as Tavoliere delle Puglie.


‘Barilotto’, ‘Bella di Cerignola’, ‘Cerignolese’, ‘Grossa di Spagna’, ‘Lunga’, ‘Oliva a ciuccio’, ‘Oliva a prugna’, Oliva di Spagna’, Oliva grossa’, Oliva lunga’, Oliva manna’, ‘Olivo dell’asino’, ‘Prone’, Prugne’, Spagnola’


The tree: it has a low vigour, an expansive habit and a medium-thick crown density.

The inflorescence: it has an average length, an average number of flowers and a compact structure.

The leaf: it has a lanceolate elliptical shape with a high length and an average width; the longitudinal curvature of the flat lamina and the color of the upper light green page.

The fruit: it has a very heavy weight characterized by a high pulp/stone ratio; it has a slightly asymmetrical elongated shape, with a position of the maximum transverse mean diameter located towards the apex. The mucron is barely noticeable. The apex and base are pointed. There are abundant large lenticels. Veraison starts from the apex and the color when fully ripe is purplish black.

The flowering time of the Bella di Cerignola cultivar is late; while the veraison period is early, as is the maturation period.

The Bella di Cerignola cultivar has considerable agronomic needs. It is a cultivar sensitive to cycloconium, mange, fumaggine, olive fly and cold. Productivity is average and alternating. The fruits, which ripen early, have a high dynamometric strength, which makes harvesting more expensive.

In the plant it is advisable to provide as pollinators the cultivars Mele, Sant’Agostino e Termite di Bitetto. The Bella di Cerignola cultivar benefits from the presence of plants of the cultivars Peranzana and Ogliarola barese, with which flowering is practically contemporary.

The oil content of the Bella di Cerignola cultivar is low. The cultivar is not particularly rich in phenols that on average do not exceed 100 mg/kg.

The oleic acid content is less than 70%.

The Bella della Daunia PDO, cultivar Bella di Cerignola, is a green or black olive, large, weighing up to 30 g. The shape is elongated, similar to a plum. The flesh is abundant. The greens are crisp and tasty, the black have a pulp of medium consistency and a delicate taste, are used in appetizers and appetizers.

Widespread in the province of Foggia and mainly in the countryside of Cerignola and neighboring municipalities for a total of over 5,000 Ha. In the year 2000 the table olive variety “Bella di Cerignola” obtained the European registration as Protected Designation of Origin PDO “La Bella della Daunia“. Today, the olives that meet the requirements of the production disciplinary of the PDO “La Bella della Daunia” cultivar Bella di Cerignola, are processed and marketed, both as green olives tanned in Seville, both as black olives tanned Californian style.

Iconographic source: LOMBARDO N. et A.A. (a cura di), 2004, Contributo alla caratterizzazione del germoplasma olivicolo pugliese. Istituto Sperimentale per l’Olivicoltura. Rende (CS).



Professor Maria Lisa Clodoveo
Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine
University of Bari

Dr. Enzo Perri
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)
Research Manager
Director of the CREA Olive, Fruit, and Citrus Research Center