The Checche oak was planted near Pienza over three centuries ago. At the time, Tuscany was led by Grand Duke Ferdinand II de’ Medici, who loved science as much as nature. A large, ancient tree, loved by the population, who fought hard to protect it. Thus, in 2017, the Oak known as the Quercia delle Checche was recognised as Italy’s first green monument by MiBACT.
The Checche oak
The Oak of the Magpies, which in Tuscany were called checche or cecche, is 22 metres high. An imposing tree of Quercus petraea oak, which has seen so much history and fuelled so many legends with a trunk with a diameter of almost 5 metres and a crown of 34.
This monumental tree has a high value not only botanically but also historically and symbolically. The Val D’Orcia, a Unesco World Heritage Site that has been home to it between Bagno Vignoni and Monticchiello for no less than 370 years, fully recognises this great monumental tree. There is a lot of history behind this great specimen.
History and legends of the Oak of the Queers
Partisans chose it as a shelter for their ammunition during the Second World War, and the ‘new vandals of today’ targeted it in 2014, injuring it to such an extent that the horizontal branch facing Bagno Vignoni collapsed. Magic and legends revolve around this great oak, 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 perform rituals and honour their deities. but are they just legends or is there really magic in this land?
The Oak of the Checche today
Today, groups of willing citizens have sprung up in the area, defending the oak tree and supervising the maintenance of the area and surrounding areas by also educating schools.
An educated choice to enhance the territory that starts with the knowledge and protection of a unique environment. The Magpie Oak is part of the new movement to protect trees and the planet that many movements are leading.
Where is the Oak of Checche
Questo splendido impianto si trova sulla Strada Provinciale 53 che da Bagno Vignoni porta a Radicofani.