The term “monumental trees” refers to plants or trees that have an important landscape, naturalistic, monumental or cultural-historical value.
In order to define a tree as monumental, the characteristics that must be taken into account are its size (it must be very large for the species or larger than the other examples of the same species present in the area in question); longevity (in some cases, very old plants may not grow to be exceptionally large, but if we can confirm that the plant has been alive a for a particularly long time it must be considered monumental); historical requirements (all plants linked to an important historical event are to be considered monumental); rarity (a plant that is very rare in general or rare in a certain region is of great biological value); landscape and historical-architectural requirements (all plants that are important to the landscape and situated in historically and architecturally significant areas may be considered monumental).
Calabria is home to a large number of Monumental Trees, which are often found in places of great naturalistic and scenic importance along breathtakingly beautiful hiking trails.
Albidona is a small, ancient mountain town located between the Upper Ionian Cosentino and the Pollino massif at the border of Basilicata. It extends towards the sea with a short expanse of pine forest and a small beach.Its unique location stretches from the sea, near the Saracen Tower, up to the village.
Located in the historic centre of Albidona, the Wild Pear tree, known locally as U praine i mastr Giuguann, is around 450 years old. It is cherished by the local community as it was the departure point of many emigrants and soldiers who went to fight at war.
The tree’s Calabrian name refers to a blacksmith known as Giovanni Oriolo, nicknamed master Giovanni, who worked in Albidona towards the end of the 1700s.
The Canescent Poplar (Pioppo Canescente) is rooted on the edge of an asphalt road near the Fontana Lungro fountain.What makes this tree so unique is the peculiar arrangement of its branches.
A superb example of an Aleppo Pine that stands out for its imposing height of about 20 metres.
The Black Hornbeam, or Càrpinu, has phenomenal dimensions for the species, which is often relatively small and found in coppice forests. The tree in question is located on a rocky outcrop in the middle of a holm oak forest and is hugged by large vines of ivy. The configuration of the trunk and its protuberances confirm that the tree has undergone the practice of sgamollatura (pruning of the side branches). The branches, which are continuously removed during the growing season, are used as fodder for livestock in particularly arid environments such as the holm oak forest.
Age 100-120 years.
Trebisacce, a village on the Costa degli Achei, owes its name to the Byzantine word Trapezàkion which means small table and refers to the plateau on which the village was built.
The village is commonly referred to as the Balcony of the High Ionian because, from its terraces, you can gaze out across the extraordinary panorama of the Gulf, the Ionian Sea, and the plains of Sibari and Metaponto.
Its lush hills, crystal clear sea waters, and year-round mild climate offer visitors a myriad of superb routes with outstanding panoramas. The routes are scattered between the coast and the heights of the Pollino, with the town being one of the most picturesque gateways to the Pollino National Park.
The carob tree, a plant species typical of the Mediterranean climate and arboreal landscape, grows particularly well in the Calabrian Ionian area which is drier than the Tyrrhenian environment. It can be found in a private garden in Via Tacito, in the historic centre of Trebisacce. It stands at a majestic height with a canopy covering an immense diameter of 13 metres. In fact, the canopy is so prolific that it has to be pruned regularly so as not to pose a danger to the surrounding houses.
At the edge of an arable field, on a calcareous, clayey, north-facing slope overlooking the Pagliara river and the Ionian Sea you will find a group of downy oaks. There is something quite beautiful about this group of 3 homogeneous trees that are such an important part of the landscape.
To feast your eyes on a splendid example of an Aleppo pine, take the Municipal Road 253 to the northern area of Trebisacce, then take via Claudio Treves, turn left and pass under the Pagliara viaduct of the SS 106 highway. Continue towards the right for about 120m and then keep to the left for another 130m. The tree is located in a small square in front of some houses.
The village of Cerchiara di Calabria is perched on the slopes of Mount Séllaro at an altitude of over seven hundred metres above sea level. It is dominated by the remains of the medieval castle that overlooks the plain of Sibari. The spur on which the village stands is a natural spectacle that gives visitors a taste of the wonders of the nearby peaks including Serra di Paola and the mountains of Sellaro, Sparviere and Panno Bianco.
This ancient town, which certain historians date back to the pre-Hellenic age, is brimming with monuments and works of art and benefits from one of the most fascinating and captivating views of the whole region. Also belonging to the territory of Cerchiara di Calabria are the peaks of Serra Dolcedorme and those of Serra della Ciavole whose valley is located in the heart of the Pollino National Park and contains the area of Montagnola del Pollino. This region is renowned for its serpentine beech trees and loricate pines.
The oak tree standing majestically at the centre of the Fratelli Pesce Zootechnical Farm is characterised by its imposing yet extremely beautiful emerging root structure.
Cerchiara is also home to a very impressive Common Ash tree. The circumference of this tree’s trunk is well above the minimum threshold for the species and at the top it measures an extraordinary 15 metres wide.
A wonderful example of a Cerzeto Beech tree is located about 4km from the town of Cerchiara. You will find it easily as it is situated just a stone's throw from a votive chapel. According to tradition, during his journeys to the convent of San Marco Argentano, Saint Francis of Paola stopped under this very Beech tree to quench his thirst with the water held between its branches.
In the Monte area of Grisolia you will find an exceptionally large chestnut tree which many believe to be thousands of years old. Numerous cavities on its main branches provide the perfect habitat for insects, birds and mammals. In fact, the local inhabitants refer to the tree as I castagni dei Salavruni (Chestnut tree of the Lizards) probably due to the large number of salamanders that it attracts. It is the largest known tree in the Park, with an estimated age of about 500 years.
Considered the land of the charms and enchantments of Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, which were very popular among nineteenth-century English travellers, Reggio Calabria stands out for its variety of unmissable works of art and pathways waiting to be explored.
Not many people know that Reggio Calabria, in addition to being referred to as the City of the Bronzes, is also known as the City of the Fata Morgana because visitors can witness this peculiar optical phenomenon just off the coast of the city. As you look at the mirage, which can be seen within the narrow band above the horizon, the coast of Sicily appears to be just a few metres away from the shores of Calabria and the objects on the opposite shore are clearly distinguishable.
This typically Mediterranean city is full of charm and has the irresistible allure of a tourist town. The captivating Lungomare Falcomatà, named the most beautiful kilometre in Italy, is a veritable corner of paradise teeming with palm trees and exotic species in an atmosphere of intense aromas and colours. It forms the heart of the spring and summer tourist season and is also the centre of the city’s cultural scene. As your feet wander, you will be caressed by the sea breeze and enchanted by panoramic views over the Strait.
Three Silver Fir trees, one of which is particularly large, harmoniously frame the fountain in the hamlet of Tre Aie.
In the area of Gornelle you can admire an imposing, very large beech tree with multiple trunks.
The woods near Tre Aie in Reggio Calabria, contain an exceptionally large beech tree.
An interesting Larch Pine tree is located in Fragolara, Reggio Calabria near the tollbooth of regional forestry management authority, Calabria Verde. The shape and composition of the tree are very particular as it does not have the typical column-like structure of other examples of the same species. Instead, at about 1.3 metres from the ground, the trunk splits into 4 branches, some of which are twisted, thus giving the tree a highly unique appearance.
Scilla is a small village in Reggio Calabria located on a high, rocky spur overlooking the sea. It is among the most charming and characteristic villages in Italy. Scilla is a major tourist town along the Costa Viola (so named after the vibrant violet colour that characterises the sea water at certain times of day). The town is known for its ancient castle overlooking the coast, its coloured houses standing side by side and its Strait offering a captivating view over Sicily. Recently, CNN included Scilla in its list of the most beautiful villages in Italy along with the village of Chianalea, the oldest and most picturesque part of Scilla which is also referred to as little Venice because it is practically immersed in the sea. The houses, packed tightly together and separated by tiny alleys, seem to rise directly from the blue sea with their foundations laid directly on the rocks.
The ancient village is made up of a myriad of characteristic streets where you can admire numerous churches and fountains. Meanwhile, the beautiful Ruffo Castle towers above the town.
Scilla is also home to a magnificent silver fir tree with impressive dimensions. In addition to its large size, it is characterised by an additional trunk that forks off from the main trunk at about 50cm from the base. Interestingly, the locality of Abetazzo (fir wood) was named after this fantastic specimen.
An impressive Oak tree is located along the provincial road from Campo Calabro to Melia. Its large branches extend in every direction to create a canopy of roughly 35 metres in diameter.
In the municipality of Reggio Calabria, in Due Fiumare, an extraordinary Eucalyptus camaldulensis tree is located along the path leading to the Cupola di San Silvestro (Dome of Saint Sylvester). This remarkably large specimen towers above the neighbouring trees.
Santo Stefano in Aspromonte is a mountain village perched on a rocky spur of the Gallico river in the Tyrrhenian Aspromonte side of Reggio Calabria.
The territory, with its distinctly tourist-oriented vocation, is particularly appealing thanks to its landscape and environmental aspects. At lower altitudes, the landscape is mainly rural, whereas at higher altitudes, it is slightly more populated, particularly during the summer and winter months.
Up to a thousand metres above sea level, the area’s vegetation consists mainly of olive and chestnut trees. Above this altitude beeches, pines and fir trees become the main varieties of flora. Tucked away in the small town of Gambarie at an altitude of 1300 metres is a winter and summer tourist resort which is a popular destination at any time of year.
Just in front of the Forestry Station of Gambarie, stands an unusual Californian Cypress. Originating from Western America (Oregon, California) the Californian Cypress was introduced to Europe in the middle of the 19th century and has been used mainly as an ornamental species ever since. This particular specimen has a polycormic trunk and a pyramidal shape. Its height of 30 metres is another of its noteworthy features, not least because it provides a large shady area to escape from the intense summer sun.