Oak of the Witches: between fairy-tale and mistery.
This enchanting 600-year-old tree is so magical it inspired the very famous story of Pinocchio. It has stupefying dimensions: 24 metres tall, with a circumference of 4.5 metres, and the foliage has a diameter of 40 metres.
We are in a Tuscan forest, where live an enchanting oak tree, with thick, mossy branches that stretch horizontally and giving it a strangely squashed appearance. The old tree has many names, and, of course, its fair share of legends and traditions. According to one local legend, witches once gathered around the 600-year-old oak. They danced wildly atop its knotty branches, using the plant as a theater for their chants and ceremonies. It seems that their rituals stunted the tree’s growth and deformed its shape, causing it to reach outward rather than upward.
But the old oak inspired another story, more familiar to children, but not only, all over the world. While Carlo Collodi once sat beneath its branches, he writing several chapters of The Adventures of Pinocchio. The oak inspired the scenes where the beloved puppet meets the Cat and the Fox and where he is later rescued by the Blue Fairy after being hung. In fact, one of the tree’s names is Pinocchio’s Oak, in italian, Quercia di Pinocchio. The tree is located in an area that celebrates the Pinocchio’s story throug other sites linked to the story.
In history, during the Second World War, the oak was identified by the Nazi occupiers as firewood, but then the project to demolish the monumental tree fortunately faded thanks to the mobilization of the inhabitants of San Martino in Colle.
Because of its large size and distinct shape, the legendary tree also appears as a reference on NATO maps, and Italy’s government officially recognizes it as a National Monument since 7th of March, 2012.