The Chestnut of the ‘Hundred Horses’ is 2,200 years old

A trunk of 18 meters in diameter and a foliage of 1,000 square meters, the green patriarch is located at the foot of Etna and its origin is demonstrated by a study by Crea

The Chestnut of the Hundred Horses, one of the oldest and largest trees in the world, located on the slopes of Etna in the province of Catania, has a uniform genetic footprint and is more than two millennia, 2,200 years old. This was demonstrated by a study by Crea published in the latest issue of Forestry, the prestigious international journal of forest research.

The Chestnut of the Hundred Horses, elected Italian tree of the year 2021, is a real living monument: the average diameter of the trunk measures 18 meters, the crown covers an area of ​​about one thousand square meters. Legend has it that her name was born when Queen Giovanna I of Anjou in the 13th century took shelter from a storm, under her impressive foliage, with all 100 of her knights. Since then the chestnut, also visited by Goethe and many other writers and artists, has been called “The chestnut of the 100 horses”.

It is currently divided into three trunks, but for a long time the certainty has been sought that they actually originated from the radial fragmentation of a single stem. Analyzes had already been conducted that generally reported genetic uniformity, however no details had ever been provided regarding the sampling methods and the specific analytical results obtained. Furthermore, the scientific importance of the specimen had never been sufficiently documented and underlined.