The largest and oldest tree in Italy

By Silvia Sperandio and Translated by Jack Davidson Walmsley

The Italian peninsula boast another national pride of Mother Nature: at 1,000 years old, it’s the oldest tree in Italy, and has just won second place in the “European Tree Of The Year 2021” competition; Located in Calabria, in the province of Catanzaro, within the Sant’Elia – Vrisi forest.

Il monumento naturale si trova in Calabria, a Curinga ed è un platano orientale di ben mille anni

It would take approximately 18 children to have a great time while embracing the trunk of the Millenary Sycamore tree of Curinga with its 14 metres of circumference and 31,5 metres of height stretching majestically towards the sky, estimated to be about 1,000 years old, making it the oldest tree in Italy.

It is not known who planted it, but it is assumed that it may have been the Basilian monks who arrived in Calabria more than a thousand years ago. In fact, the Vrisi springs once flowed through the area, where the monks drew water and also built the Hermitage of Sant’Elia, which is still partially visible today, immersed and protected by a charming woods. The peculiarity of this imposing tree is that its trunk is completely hollow with a 3-metre wide opening, and legend has it that over the centuries it has given shelter to many wayfarers, shepherds and also bandits.

“We are proud of the recognition obtained by the Sycamore, which is an ambassador of our region’s beauty. I wish to thank the mayor and the residents for their awareness and care.  We owe it to ourselves to protect and enhance it.”This is what Calabria’s Regional Councillor for the Environment Sergio De Caprio said when announcing the final results of the ‘European Tree Of The Year 2021′ competition, in which Curinga’s Millenial Sycamore won second place with 78,210 votes, just behind the Spanish tree ‘The Millenial Carrasca of Lecina’;The Ancient Sycamore Tree from Russia coming third.However, In 2020, the Sycamore Tree of Curinga won the first prize in the “Tree of the Year 2020” competition.

Calabria's Regional Councillor for the Environment Sergio De Caprio -announcing the final results of the 'European Tree Of The Year 2021' competition, in which Curinga's Millenial Sycamore won second place with 78,210 votes
L’assessore regionale all’Ambiente della Calabria Sergio De Caprio all’interno dell’apertura del Millenario Platano Orientale di Curinga.Calabria’s Regional Councillor for the Environment Sergio De Caprio

Admiring this natural monument, also known as the ‘Gigante Buono’ (Good Giant), is simple and free of charge; All you need to do is go to Via A. De Gasperi, in Curinga in the province of Catanzaro and from there follow the clearly visible signs that lead straight to the Sycamore tree. We would advise visitors to wear suitable shoes as the paths (although clean and protected by handrails) can be quite steep in certain points. The path penetrates the dense vegetation that would seem to protect its old and wise inhabitant, but after a few bends and turns, the magnificent millenary Sycamore tree will appear whilst gazing at the Mediterranean Sea while a calm stream flows at its roots.

go to Via A. De Gasperi, in Curinga in the province of Catanzaro and from there follow the clearly visible signs that lead straight to the Sycamore tree.
follow the clearly visible signs that lead straight to the Sycamore tree. Le indicazioni per arrivare ad ammirare il Platano di Curinga sono chiare e ben visibili lungo tutto il percorso a partire dall’uscita dell’autostrada fino ai sentieri del bosco che lo custodisce.

The atmosphere has a mixture of mystery and sacredness to it, and the view definitely lights a sparkle in the eyes as you admire the beauty of nature and the surrounding landscape. Nearby you can still admire part of the Hermitage of Sant’Elia Vecchio di Curinga. Built on a clearing, it is well protected by large rocky boulders and a thick pine forest, furthermore, you could still also admire the well-preserved apse of what was once the hermitage church, of which only the perimeter walls remain.

As always, my advice would be to use a certified local tourist guide to help you thoroughly appreciate the history and culture of these lands.

Jack Walmsley, British blood but Italian in his heart. Passionate about Rugby, Food, Nature and Mixology (Gin in particular). Aspiring member of the Golden Keys currently in force at the Park Hyatt Milan as Night Goalkeeper, the undisputed reality of Milanese hospitality. The Lockdown was a hard blow for me, but I can't wait to get back in the game!

Jack Walmsley, sangue Britannico ma Italiano nel cuore. Appassionato di Rugby, Cibo, Natura e Mixology (Gin in particolare). Membro aspirante delle Chiavi d’oro attualmente in forza al Park Hyatt Milano come Portiere Notturno, realta’ indiscussa dell´ospitalita´ Milanese. Il Lockdown per me e´stato un duro colpo, ma non vedo l’ora di rimettermi in gioco! Traduco i testi in inglese per EnjoyItalyGo. Linkedin

Lavoro nel mondo del turismo da sempre, in hotel, in ristoranti e compagnie aeree dove ho avuto anche Niki Lauda come capo. Dal 2017 organizzo corsi di formazione professionale per varie realtà nel mondo dell’ospitalità fra le quali A.L.P.A. (Associazione Lombarda Portieri d’Albergo); U.I.P.A. (Unione Italiana Portieri d’Albergo); FORMATEMP. Mi occupo di consulenza e formazione nel campo del turismo, Hospitality e food and beverage. EnjoyItalyGo è il mio nuovo progetto, di cui sono fondatrice, attraverso il quale desidero far conoscere il genius loci dell’Italia, nel mondo. Sono innamorata dell’Italia e insieme ai talentuosi redattori di EIG e ai molti professionisti con cui collaboro, ve la farò scoprire! Linkedin.

I have always worked in the world of tourism, in hotels, restaurants and airlines where I also had Niki Lauda as a boss. Since 2017 I have been organizing professional training courses for various realities in the hospitality world, including A.L.P.A. (Lombard Association of Hotel Porters); U.I.P.A. (Italian Union of Hotel Porters); FORMAT TEMP. I deal with consulting and training in the field of tourism, hospitality and food and beverage. EnjoyItalyGo is my new project, of which I am the founder, through which I want to make known the genius loci of Italy in the world. I am in love with Italy and together with the talented editors of EIG and the many professionals I work with, I will let you discover it! Linkedin. 
If you are curious, open to new opportunities and passionate about gastronomy the Grotto del
Sorriso is the right place for you; A venue where a conviviality which was once typical of the
trattorias of the past reigns eternally.
Jack Davidson Walmsley
Jack Walmsley, British blood but Italian in his heart. Passionate about Rugby, Food, Nature and tourism, have been working as Concierge in 5 stars hotels for many years. He's been working for EnjoyItalyGo since 2019.

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