The three Friars of Guardiaregia

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Fagus sylvatica (Fagaceae)

Inside the WWF Oasis of Guardiaregia, three magnificent centuries-old beech trees grow undisturbed in a basin – the very species which is also a symbol of Molise.
The oldest of the three brothers is around 400 years old and his moss-covered roots are visible on the surface.

The dimensions of the trunks of the three large beeches range from 13.77 ft to 17.38 ft, while the heights are between 92 and 105 ft.

The low branches of those impressive specimens have been lost over time, while they still retain very high ones that form slender foliage.

According to the legend, three brothers accused of stealing livestock were hanged around this place: in memory of such tragic event, the three silent beeches were named “the three friars”. The legend also says that on stormy nights, with strong gusts of winds, the screams of the three dying brothers can still be heard among the branches.

Next to the three friars, there’s another beech tree that may probably become a centuries-old and quite huge forth “brother”.


The three majestic beech trees can be reached in about 90 minutes by a small road from Arcichiaro dam (CB), in San Nicola, heading towards Fonte Macchio.

Botanical Card

Western beeches, as the name suggests, are widespread throughout Western Europe. In central and northern Europe, this species grows in the plains, while in the southernmost areas it is usually found in mountain environments.
In Italy, it is widespread in the mountain areas of all the regions and on the eastern Mediterranean islands. Its best living environment are the Alps, between 1.970 ft. and 4.265 ft., although beeches can be found even at much higher altitudes, between 3.280 ft. and 5.577 ft. in peninsular Italy (Pignatti, 1982).

It is a mesophilic and sciaphilous species, which prefers loose, fresh, fertile and well-drained soils. It can form pure (beech) or mixed forests with white firs or other broad-leaved trees, according to different latitudes and altitudes.
The western beech features strong and thick basal shoots which allows the development of new ones from the old stump. The wood of this species is hard and quite resistant, but easy to craft: for these reasons it is used to make furniture and household goods, while it also provides excellent firewood and very good coal.

Photo source:

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


86100 Guardiaregia(CB)

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