Miraglia Chestnut Tree

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Castanea sativa (Fagaceae)

In the magnificent National Park of the Casentinesi Forests, a few steps from the monastery of Camaldoli, there’s a wondrous chestnut tree. This tree is isolated within a clearing in the woods and its dimensions are truly astonishing: the circumference of the trunk is 27.8 ft, while it reaches the height of 62.3 ft.
Like other specimens of this species, it is a long-lived tree, about 500 years-old.

Nonetheless, what really catches the visitors’ attention is the huge cavity inside the trunk, which measure 6.5 ft in diameter; it actually stretches along the whole trunk, while the latter looks as if it was screwed on itself anti-clockwise.

According to the legend, the name of this tree comes from a retired Admiral of the first half of the XX century, who used to spend most of his time admiring the great chestnut – hence the hybrid term “Miraglia” from “Ammiraglio” (“Admiral”) and “Ammirare” (“Admire”).

On a much more serious note, the very name of the tree may simply come from Mrs Elena Miraglia, the wife of Commander Miraglia, who used to spend her time embroidering inside the chestnut trunk – where she had even put a table and some chairs.

The management of the National Park of the Casentinesi Forests has recently installed a protective fence around the tree, in order to minimize the constant trampling of the ground around it.

How to get there:

From the municipality of Poppi (AR), follow the signs to Moggiona and Camaldoli Monastery; just before the latter structure, take the road on the right that leads to a sawmill. From there, a path leads to the large monumental chestnut.

Botanical Card:

The common chestnut is widely spread throughout Southern Europe, boosted, in the ancient centuries, by human cultivation for its nutritious fruits. This species is moderately heliophilic and suffers from late frosts. It grows well in the presence of a sub-oceanic climate, while it tends to avoid continental environments. It prefers loose, fresh soils, rich in nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus, with an acidic or sub-acid reaction.

The typical chestnut tree grows at between 656 ft and 2.700 ft above sea level in the Alps, while it tends to reach higher altitudes, 3.280-4.265 ft, in the southern Apennines. This species is mainly cultivated for its fruits, while the tannin in its bark is used for hides. Chestnut trees are also appreciated as an excellent firewood.

Photo: https://homoradixnew.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/al-castagno-miraglia-bosco-di-metaleto-camaldoli-ar/

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


52014 Moggiona(AR)

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