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There are giants, on Mt Etna. Big, large beings leaving you breathless for their beauty and elegance. Do not be scared … they are not aliens! They are plants. Trees, to be exact. The giants of Etna are wonderful age-old trees that, from their nest in the woods, have seen armies, kings, events pass by. Since the day the world began! Here are some of the most interesting, which you might “meet” as you go on your tour of the volcano.

The Chestnut of 100 Horses

This old friend of ours – we have already told about it – is a beautiful and very old (2000-4000 years) chestnut tree. It is in the territory of Sant’Alfio and was the main character of a medieval tale. They say a queen and her 100 knights army found shelter under the tree. No one of them got wet with the storm rain. The tree is 22 metres high, has a diameter of 68 m and is a protected natural monument. The visit is free.

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chestnut of 100 horses

Chestnut La Nave

Set in a private garden, still in the town of Sant’Alfio, this chestnut tree is 2000 years old. It has a diameter of 23 m. Its shape reminds of a big ship, hence the name (ship=nave). Local farmers also call it the “arusbigghiasonnu” (the wake-up tree) because of the many birds that find shelter among its branches, and sing all day long!

The Zappinazzo

Located along the path that climbs towards Etna North from Linguaglossa, the larch pine called U Zappinazzu rises over the wood up to 31 meters . Its total diameter is almost 2 meters. A legend tells that the goddess Ceres, in search of her daughter Proserpine kidnapped by Pluto, used the branches of this pine. She lit them with the fire of the volcano to make light in the woods at night! To be exact, though, this tree is much younger than a Greek tale. It is no more than 300 years old.

Trofa du Camperi

A beautiful beech tree about 400 years old, located on the north side of Etna – along the path to Monte Scorsone, also called “dei Parrini” – became famous in the 19th century. Inside its stump, in fact,  the local “campiere” (the peasant warden of the fiefdom) was found killed.

Ilice Carrinu

On the eastern side, in the territory of Milo, there is one of the oldest holm oak of Etna: Ilice Carrinu, also called “the Light of the Pond”. It rises up to 38 meters with a diameter of 19 meters. It seems to be around 700 years old.

Beech from Pomiciaro

This 180-year-old tree looks like a set of trunks connected by unique roots, which is actually the typical feature of the plant as it grows. The Beech of Monte Pomiciaro is 20 meters high and has a trunk circumference of 7.40 meters.

The Great Broom of Milo

Located in a private garden, in the center of the village of Milo, this splendid broom tree – is not only among the oldest in the volcano, at 90 years of age, but also one of the highest. In fact, it measures 12 meters and has a crown width of 18×12 meters. Admiring it, even if only from the street, during the flowering with its very blond branches … what a show!  (photos by Grazia Musumeci)

Autore: Grazia Musumeci

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