The Checche oak was planted near Pienza over three centuries ago. At that time Tuscany was led by the Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici who loved science as much as nature. A large and ancient tree, loved by the population who fought with all their strength to protect it. Thus in 2017 the Oak known as the Checche was recognised as the first green monument in Italy by MiBACT.
The magpies’ oak
The Quercia delle Checche or the oak of the magpies, which in Tuscany were called fags or cecche, is 22 metres high. An imposing tree of Quercus petraea, that is oak, which has seen so much history and fed so many legends with a trunk with a diameter of almost 5 metres and a foliage of 34.
This monumental tree has a high value not only botanical but also historical and symbolic. The Val D’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been home to Bagno Vignoni and Monticchiello for 370 years, is fully recognised in this great monumental tree. So much history has seen this great specimen as a protagonist.
History and legends of the Oak of the Queers
The partisans chose it as a shelter for their ammunition during the Second World War and the “new vandals of today” targeted it in 2014, wounding it so much that the horizontal branch looking towards Bagno Vignoni collapsed. Magic and legends revolve around this great oak tree, a living being that deserves respect and protection. Among the many legends, one sees the tree as a meeting point for witches, who would gather under its branches on auspicious nights to celebrate rituals and honour their gods.
The Oak of the Magpies today
Today in the area there are groups of willing citizens who defend the oak tree and control the maintenance of the area and the surrounding areas by educating schools. A cultured choice for the enhancement of the territory that starts from the knowledge and protection of a unique environment. The Oak of the Magpies is part of the new movement to safeguard the trees and the planet that many movements are carrying out.
Where is the Oak of the Queers
This wonderful plant is located on the Provincial Road 53 that leads from Bagno Vignoni to Radicofani.