The Oak Tree of Pinocchio Becomes a National Monument
words by Elizabeth Ganley-Roper
On the 7th of March, the 600-year old oak tree known as the “Quercia di Pinocchio” and located in the park of Villa Carrara in San Martino in Colle (Capannori, Lucca) became a national monument.
The decision was taken by the Regional Technical Committee for protected areas and biodiversity of the Region of Tuscany at the request of Capannori city council and WWF.
It was beneath this tree that Carlo Lorenzini (pen name Collodi), the author of the beloved children’s book The Adventures of Pinocchio, wrote several chapters of the story. This is the quercia that inspired him the scene when Pinocchio meets the Cat and the Fox under an oak tree and when Pinocchio is later hanged by bandits who wanted to steal his gold coins and rescued by the Blue Fairy.
The tree, from the species Quercus pubescens, has stupefying dimensions: 24 metres tall, with a circumference of 4.5 metres, while the foliage has a diameter of 40 metres and an unusual shape, with branches reaching out almost horizontally.
The legends around these monumental trees abound and it is also known as the “Quercia delle Streghe” (The Oak of the Witches). One of these stories goes that the tree was the meeting point for witches who often performed their rituals and danced above its branches, thus causing its unusual squashed shape.