Our story

A wonderful journey that began with a passion for good food and straightforward ingredients. Learn about Bertolli’s history, from our modest beginnings to global success.

Discover our history


Bertolli was founded in Lucca, Tuscany, in 1865, when Francesco Bertolli and his wife, Caterina, started a small delicatessen business. The tiny shop sold local products that are characteristic of the Tuscan region, such as olive oil, wine, cheese and olives in casks, crates and bags.


In 1875, Francesco set up the ‘Francesco Bertolli Bank and Exchange’ on Lucca, primarily to serve emigrants. The bank’s most important job was to finance the growing number of emigrants, most of whom were heading to America. As the emigrants couldn’t find their familiar Mediterranean food in America, they asked Bertolli to send them crates of olive oil. And so, thanks to this unexpected market beyond Italy’s borders, Bertolli became the first company to export olive oil.


By 1890, Bertolli had an influential business exporting goods that were sold in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. By now, his shops, too, were spreading westwards. Their growing popularity in America led to export markets being established in Canada and Australia as well.


The Bertolli brand was connected more and more often to the beauty of the Italian lifestyle and delicious food. The reputation of Bertolli’s flavours grew and grew.


Bertolli gained a marked standing and to boost the public’s perception of Bertolli, the brand began to invest in advertising - something that was quite rare in Italy at the time. The Italians still fondly remember the first Bertolli commercials and television advertisements, which introduced the characters Olivella and Maria Rosa.


Between 1950 and 1960, Bertolli became the first company to print information about nutrition on its labels and to inform consumers of the significant advantages of olive oil for our health. It was also the first company to sell different kinds and flavours of olive oil, including the extra light olive oil, introduced to meet the American consumers’ demands for a mild, easily saturated oil for frying.


In 1999, Bertolli expanded the olive oil export business from 23 to more than 40 countries and the brand took over as market leader in a large number of countries.


By 2013, Bertolli was an international brand with a wide range of pasta sauces, ready-meals and olive oil. Despite all that growth, the brand has never lost its love for delicious Italian food.


Bertolli has been around for 150 years and is celebrating this fact with special limited editions.

The present day

We still only use the very best ingredients to ensure the purity of our products, which we make according the most delicious Italian recipes.
As a result, you can always rely on Bertolli to help you create a fabulous Italian dish in no time at all, bringing a little bit of Italy to your dinner table, wherever you are!