The chestnut of the 100 Horses, on the slopes of Etna, is perhaps the most famous chestnut in the world. It is thought to be over 3,000 years old.
It currently consists of three large stems which, according to some scholars, share the same root system. If so, it would also be the largest tree in the world, as well as being the oldest fruit tree.
Legend says that Queen Joan of Aragon took shelter with all her knights under the branches of this huge tree, following a storm. Since then the chestnut, also visited and described by Goethe and many other writers and artists, has been called “The chestnut with 100 horses”.
Giant Trees Foundation Onlus supports the importance of protecting and safeguarding trees by promoting and organizing the European Tree Of The Year contest for Italy. The European competition was born in 2011: year after year, the number of participating countries has continued to grow.
Four significant trees located along our peninsula and chosen through international research, receive the support of their loyal fans through an online survey. Annual web votes are usually held between September and November on the website of the Giant Trees Foundation Onlus. Everyone has the opportunity to express, free of charge and without registration, their preference for the trees to which they feel most attached, or which they consider more representative of Italy at the European level. The choice, free and subjective, does not pursue criteria of beauty or seniority but is aimed at making known and emphasizing the history of the tree and its emotional and cultural relationship with the community. At the end of this first phase, the plant that has collected the highest number of consents will be named Tree of the Year for Italy and will compete on the international stage during the next step, which will see it compete with the winners of the other rounds held in European countries, to win the title of European Tree of the Year.
This year the winner was our beloved chestnut of the 100 horses. I am really proud of the fact that it is in my city and I hope it can pass this competition as well. For this, I wish the CHESTNUT good luck!