World production is mostly (at least 90%) concentrated in Italy, in the province of Reggio Calabria. However the quantity of essential oil produced has been decreasing in the last decades.

The bergamot is cultivated along the Ionian coast of the Province of Reggio Calabria, specifically between the towns of Villa San Giovanni and Gioiosa Jonica;  an area of about 1,500 hectares produces 20,000 tonnes of fruit, which yield an average of 100,000 kg of essence.

The bergamot is mainly cultivated on alluvial and calcareous clay soil, where the best essence yields are obtained. 

The most suitable areas are those on frost-free hills with good exposure to the sun.  The bergamot is very sensitive to temperature change and can be damaged if the temperature goes below 3°C or rises excessively; it also requires frequent watering.

The plant is produced by grafting and today it is usually grafted onto a bitter orange, which gives strong, resistant, long-living plants.
The origins of the bergamot are still mysterious.   Different experts have traced it to China, Greece, Pergamo in Asia or the Spanish city of Berga, imported by Christopher Columbus on his way back from the Canary Islands.
Another fascinating hypothesis is that the bergamot  originates from Turkey where a variety known as “pear of the lord” – in Turkish “Begarmudi” - exists.
However, the most probable hypothesis is that the bergamot derives from the spontaneous mutation
of another species (the bitter orange or lime) which took place in the city of the Fata Morgana towards the end of the seventeenth century  due to the particularly mild micro-climate.