Trees like statues: the monuments of the Val d’Orcia
They are tall and mighty, like columns, but they are also dynamic and alive; they are centuries old, but also fragile. They are the monumental trees of the Val d’Orcia. Of the fifty-five monumental trees that are scattered around Tuscany, two are in the Val d’Orcia. They tell us how ancient the place is and about its famous natural history.
In this list, we cannot forget the cypresses of San Quirico d’Orcia, famous worldwide and located on the Via Cassia. They have been photographed in thousands of pictures, postcards, films and are indelibly impressed in the memory of visitors. Majestic, elegant, arranged as if in pose among the hills, they are the real gateways to the city, the business card that San Quirico has shown for centuries, an essential piece of the Val d’Orcia landscape that has obtained the acknowledgement of UNESCO.
The lady of the Val d’Orcia is no less beautiful or majestic: the Oak tree of the Checche of Pienza. It is so ancient and famous that it is the first green monument in the history of Italy. It is 19 metres tall and 300 years old. It is a sweet refuge for the birds it takes its name from, the magpies, in dialect ‘checche’. Many a man has found shelter under its century old fronds that would have a lot to tell. Princes, kings, great lords? I leave the pleasure of imagining those stories to you.
The care and love the inhabitants of the Val d’Orcia have for their land is also seen in the care and respect thay have for these immense green creatures. Once there were forsets and immense woods in the places where these monumental trees are now scattered, and we can see their traces in the relics that survived. The inhabitants of the Val d’Orcia feel love for these trees as if they were close family, mothers, sisters, brothers or fathers.
Nature is based on delicate balances and the monumental trees have designed the landscape that has made the Val d’Orcia famous: without the cypresses or the Oak tree of the Checche it wouldn’t be the same dreamlike, postcard landscape. That’s why they must be protected.
And the trees are still there, day after day, in silence, with an unhuman slowness and the patience of nature, thanking men for their respect and affection, for centuries.
If you don’t believe in the empathetic capability of trees, there are very recent and completely Tuscan studies that show that plants interlace connections among themselves – chemical connections of course – that they react to the surroundings and make tiny movements. Therefore, when you come to the Val d’Orcia, com and hug the cypresses of San Quirico, greet them with affection because maybe the reason why they are so luxuriant and beautiful is because they know they are famous. They are the true VIPs of our land! The Caitano Hotel Collection awaits you to talk about trees and all the other beautiful things that your holiday in San Quirico d’Orcia has to offer!