Chestnut of the Hundred Horses
The Castagno dei Cento Cavalli is a thousand-year-old chestnut tree, the largest in Italy, located within the Etna Park, in the Sant'Alfio area. The name of the tree is linked to a legend. The tree is located in the Carpineto wood, on the eastern side of the Etna volcano. In 2006 the tree was declared a Messenger of Peace Monument by Unesco.
The chestnut has been studied by several botanists and visited by many illustrious people in past eras, its history blends with the legend of the queen and the hundred knights. Botanists believe that the tree is between two and four thousand years old and could be the oldest tree in Europe. The chestnut measures about 23 m in circumference of the trunk, for 22 m in height. In fact, today it is made up of three suckers, which have also opened the debate on the uniqueness of the plant. In the Guinness Book of Records, the Chestnut is recorded as the largest tree in the world: in 1780, 57.9 m in circumference were measured with all the branches.
About four hundred meters from the Castagno dei Cento Cavalli stands the Castagno Nave, also called Castagno S.Agata or Arrusbigghiasonnu - it awakens sleep - perhaps due to the chirping of birds or perhaps due to the low foliage that suddenly awakened some passing carter from sleep. It is a chestnut tree with at least a thousand years of life, which is believed to be the second tree for antiquity and size in Italy. The circumference measures 20m and is 19m high.