The monumental tree at Fattoria del Colle is called quercia Italia and is about 160 years old. Its trunk and its branches frame a breathtaking panorama
It was born around 1860 when Tuscany voted the plebiscite for the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy. This is why it is called Quercia Italia. The Tuscans voted on March 11th and 12th 1860, with 366.571 favourable votes, about 96% of the voting population. To be noted that becoming part of Italy meant that women lost their right to vote, whereas whilst part of the Grand duchy they could since 1849. Our oak tree consequently remembers an important moment of local history. It is in front of Villa Archi in one of the spots where the panorama is unforgettable. A glimpse of something that seems to come out of a 14th century fresco. This view stretches from Monte Amiata on the right to Siena on the opposite side and in the middle the soft hills of the Crete Senesi and of the Val d’Orcia. No factories, no overpasses, everything seems miraculously intact, only that at sunset the electric lights come on!
The quercia Italia has an enormous trunk. At 130 cm from the ground its circumference is of 4, 20 meters and a little above its heavy branches begin. However it is so well proportioned that it does not reveal its grandiosity straight away. Its canopy is also large but not very large maybe because the very sandy soil has beneath it a Layer of compact clay that stops the roots to go very deep. For this reason in the hot and very dry summer in 2017 lots of oak trees in the woods surrounding Fattoria del Colle became yellow as if they were about to die.
But our Quercia Italia did not; it remained proudly green all summer. To estimate its age we used an empiric method, dividing the circumference by 2, 5 cm, normal annual growth of an oak tree that grows out of the woods. Those that we find in the bush grow more slowly. The quercia Italia was planted long after the construction of the farmhouse called podere Colle Piccino or Colle a mano, later named Villa Archi. This is a 16th century construction, in stone, on two floors, that in front opens with a double arch and inside contains a holiday apartment with big dining room, seven bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. The quercia Italia is found along the narrow road that leads to the farmhouse.
Probably in the past it was necessary to protect the home from wines and to create a shady area where the farmers and their animals could rest during the hot summer days. In fact the quercia Italia is alone, isolated from the oak woods that reach the park where the private pool of Villa Archi is. Evidently even in the past its mighty size has always been respected as something special, as if it were the domestic god to protect the area.Today tourists look at it with admiration and photograph the landscape that seems to be framed by its trunk and branches.We have only one regret, to not have inserted it among the monumental tree census. It seems impossible but when you see something every day you do not notice it