«A very wonderful phenomenon in the vegetable world,» as the Scottish writer Patrick Brydone described the Hundred Horse Chestnut, on the occasion of his visit to Sicily on May 1770. The chestnut is considered to be the oldest tree in Europe, «proof of nature's generating power» according to UNESCO, which elected the chestnut as “Peace Messenger Monument” back in 2008
The Hundred Horse Chestnut is located in the Etna park, a few steps away from the Residenza Nake, in the peculiar district of Sant'Alfio, and it's supposed to be 3-4000 years old, as stated by the botanist Bruno Peyronel.
Its name comes directly from a legend in which Queen Giovanna and her knights took refuge under the tree to escape a serious thunderstorm. The tale does not clarify which Queen it makes reference to, and no historical document has proved any journey in Sicily made by Queen Giovanna D'Aragona or Joanna I D'Anjou. However, the Hundred Horse Chestnut attracts many visitors and botanists from all over the world, thanks to its appeal and its fertile energy.