The olive tree (Olea europaea L.) is one of the most important crops in Italy, both in terms of economic relevance and environmental role. However, its cultivation entails high production costs, especially for harvesting. Harvesting methods range from manual, to simple hand-held equipment, up to fully mechanized grove, depending on numerous economic, technical and social factors. Facing this wide range of crop conditions, we individuated three main different scenarios of olive oil production, in terms of mechanization intensity and cropping system. The paper reports the costs and the technical features of these three levels of mechanization intensity for olive oil harvesting. The economic evaluation of harvesting operation shows that manual harvesting costs attained around 3300 € ha-1; thanks to mechanization, it is possible to obtain the following cost reductions: 40-48% using hand-held equipment; 59-72% with trunk-shakers and ground nets; 68-80% with trunk-shakers equipped with collecting umbrellas; 85-90% with straddle harvesters. Consequently, the cost of olive oil ranges from 4.7-2.7 € kg-1 (manual harvesting) up to 0.3-0.5 € kg-1 (straddle harvester).