Legends of Sicily: the Hundred Horse Chestnut tree

We want to tell you a story, a short one don’t worry. There is a tree that is considered the oldest and biggest in Europe. It’s located in Sicily, in Sant’Alfio, a lovely hamlet near the Eastern slope of the Mount Etna.

Believed to be between 2.000 and 4.000 years old, the tree is known as the Hundred Horse Chestnut tree (Castagnu di Centu Cavaddi in Sicilian). Why? It is said that under its huge branches the Queen Joanna of Aragon and her company of one hundred knights found shelter during a severe thunderstorm.

Another tip for you: the Hundred Horse Chestnut tree is listed by Guinnes World Records for having the greatest tree girth ever at 190 feet in circumference (22 metres).

One thought on “Legends of Sicily: the Hundred Horse Chestnut tree

  1. I am a long-time volunteer with the American Chesnut Foundation and visited this tree in Sicily two years ago. At the time I believed it to be a ”Castanea dentata” or at least the European/Sicilian variety of the Chestnut which of course produces the famously sweet, edible nut. The tree was flowering and I was able to closely observe and take close-up photos of the flowering parts and surrounding leaves. I have a lot of experience hand-pollinating surviving chestnuts in the US and the leaves and flowers of the Sicilian tree appeared identical to ones in the US. I was not aware that the physical characteristics, especially the reproductive parts, of the inedible “horse” chestnut were so similar to “Castanea dentata”.

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