Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An Abundance of Cypress Trees

On May 29th, we went to Mulino Vecchio del Cilone where the owners, Romano and Giovanna, taught us how to make pizza and bread. On the 4 km walk to Mulino Vecchio del Cilone and while walking around their garden, I noticed the same trees were growing in the area. Dr. Starman and Rossella said they're Cypress trees and can be seen all over Italy. Sure enough, I began seeing Cypress trees everywhere. In Castiglion Fiorentino, the trees line the countryside. In Arezzo, the trees stand near most roads. Also in Arezzo, a few of us stumbled upon an excavation of a Roman Amphitheater that was surrounded by Cypress trees.
After extensive research, I discovered that the binomial nomenclature is Cupressus sempervirens. The Cypress trees, commonly known as Mediterranean cypress trees, are native to the Mediterranean area. Contrary to popular belief, the Cypress tree is not native to Italy but rather Persia/Syria. The trees were thought to have supernatural connections because they retain their leaves in the winter unlike other deciduous trees. The trees were planted by graves because of this belief giving them the nickname Graveyard cypress. The trees also have a fresh scent that Italians enjoy. This is why Mediterranean cypress decorates the Italian landscape, especially the Tuscan region.
I love that the hilly landscape is characterized by Mediterranean cypress. If I remember nothing else from this trip, I'll remember the tall pencil shaped Cypress trees.

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