Fun Facts about Tuscany – Quercia delle Streghe
On top of the hill of one of my favourite villages, in the middle of the wood, there is a secular oak; this incredible tree is one of a kind and a real miracle of nature. The Oak of the Witches or The Big Oak (as it is called by local people) is located in the area of San Martino in Colle, Capannori (LU) in the park of Villa Carrara (below the village of Montecarlo).
The mighty tree dates back to 1400 and its peculiarity is the fact that it does not develop vertically but horizontally, parallel to the ground, and for this reason it looks even mightier. Its foliage is about 40 meters in diameter! This tree has been threatened more than once, but not even parasitic insects or Nazi during the second world war were able to destroy it. We can say that it went through a lot, but it survived, and the citizens of San Martino have a great merit in this.
There is a legend that suggests a connection between the name of the tree and its horizontal growing, that is …witches! People say that the unusual developing of its branches is due to the fact that witches, used to hide themselves among the foliage of the tree when they gathered for their famous sabba. In order to have more space, they cast a spell to give this incredible structure to the oak. Moreover, it is believed that The Oak of the Witches is the Big Tree that appears in the book “The Adventures of Pinocchio”: the tree near Campo dei Miracoli, where Pinocchio was hanged. We are not sure about this hypothesis but considering its proximity to Collodi it is very likely that this tree inspired the author.
You should not miss the opportunity to see this incredible old oak, it is a perfect experience for adventurers and for families with kids. We recommend you to go for a walk and enjoy Tuscan nature and when you arrive there you will see that it is an interactive visit! You know, nature offers so much but you have to give it something back if you want to see that little bit of magic that sometimes we all need. Just close your eyes and imagine the adventures of Pinocchio, the Cat and the Fox and the big oak in the background or try to figure out the devilish plans of the witches hidden among its branches. Give free rein to your creativity and try to be inspired by your kids that, talking about imagination, have a lot to teach us.