“Castagno dei Cento Cavalli” – Jean-Pierre Houël (1776-1779)
Known as the 100 Horse Chestnut Tree, (“Castagne de Cento Cavalli”), the ancient tree is considered to be between 2000 and 4000 years old. It is the oldest tree in Europe and the oldest Chestnut Tree in the world. The Tree lives on Mount Etna in Sicily, which is the most active volcano in Europe. The Tree has survived several earthquakes, (which have devastated cities along the east coast of the Island), volcanic eruptions, as well as seen the rise and fall of numerous ancient cultures, over thousands of years.
The name “Castagno de cento Cavalli” (Chestnut Tree of 100 horses) derives from a traditional story in which a queen of Aragon and her company of one hundred knights, during a trip to Mount Etna, were caught in a severe thunderstorm. The Queen and her horsemen all took shelter under the tree.
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