As you know, legends, as such, must be stepped in imagination and protected by tradition. In Magliano, one has been handed down to which is even mixed an award. We are talking about the Olivo della Strega, a plant, an olive tree, that today celebrates circa 3,000/3,500 years. A lot of history has passed under its branches!
Obviously, like all fantasy stories passed down orally, the versions of them are multiple: one version tells that during the summer solstice, the witches in the Maremma, together with the Centaurs and Fauns, they gathered at the feet of this olive tree to celebrate their sabbatical rituals. Others speak of witches and woodsy rituals. But the most accredited tale recounts the fascinating story of a witch who every Friday night, dancing around the trunk of this plant, she forced it to develop in its contorted shape that we can see yet today; at the end of the ritual the witch turned herself into an eerie cat with fiery eyes who stayed to guard the tree the entire night.
Whether you believe the stories or not, it’s still worth visiting the olive tree, a specimen unique to its kind. And here is where we move from the legend to the award. The plant is estimated as being between 3,000 and 3,500 years old. The tree is considered to be one of Italy’s, perhaps even Europe’s oldest. Experts, using the active carbon method, bestowed the tree the longevity award; such dating would associate this specimen with a historic period earlier than that of the Garden of Gethsemane.
To see it, just find the Chiesa della Santissima Annunziata, just outside the city wall. In the very garden of this church, where sacred and profane forgive each other in the penetrating fragrance of an olive grove dominating the Maremma countryside, the Olivo della Strega, marked by time and majestically proud with its enormous , nearly 8.5 meters, trunk, patiently waiting for history to continue and run under its leafy branches.
Finding yourself at its feet is an evocative, almost mystical, experience. Knowing that it was already alive 1,000 years before Christ, makes you feel so small, but grateful to be standing there. The olive tree shares its garden with other centuries-old plants. Sitting in this garden means breathing in history, leaving yourself to your imagination, in the distance, Monte Argentario, looming on the horizon, thereby marking the eastern border of a territory the Maremma, which has so much to share.