Each day, I am blessed to either walk or drive upon the pictured one kilometre long iconic cypress alley.
There are two of these magnificent cypress alleys located on the thousand hectare estate known as Arceno. The Arceno estate web site http://www.arceno.it situates the estate “..in the heart of Tuscany in the Sienese Chianti area, between Florence and Siena.’ The Estate is blanketed in agricultural glory with a patchwork of olive groves and vineyards while being graced with historic buildings and thirty breathtaking villas. I now call a portion of one of these Villa’s my casale (home).
The double rowed cypress alleys are legally protected due to their historical and financial value. The natural beauty and length of these ancient alleyways is treasured by those who are fortunate enough to live and work on or visit Arceno. I have been told the cypress trees in the photograph may well be over 300 years old.
At the top of one cypress alley stands a sleek and noble looking, pink-toned obelisk. It stands proudly pointing skyward with a small box wood patterned garden at its base.
At the top of the cypress alley pictured (above) there is a turn-about which was formerly used by drivers to turn their horse-drawn carriages. These carriages were filled with ladies of leisure out enjoying the fresh Tuscan air. Unfortunately, I can only imagine driving my vehicle around the turn-about, being pulled by the limited horse power of my car engine!
The natural beauty of the cypress alleys and the white roads lying between, is intensified with the changing light during the day. With heavy sunlight the cypress trees cast their shaded images which ripple across the white road, giving it a mystical feeling. I often stand in their shadows just to take a reprieve from the heat of the day.
At night when the sun is setting the cypress trees appear like sentinels guarding their ancient roads. The wild boar will often enjoy a private evening run between them, unless you have the good fortune of viewing them by car light.
One of my favourite moments on cypress alley is when the pairs of resident pheasants or hares flit across the road. They are inevitably startled by my presence (sometimes I think they do this just for effect) and then leave me in a trail blazed with white dust.
The iconic cypress tree is symbolic of the Tuscan landscape and the following picture was taken this week in the Chianti Hills (Greve). The photograph captures the glorious colour combination when the cypress trees are found amongst the maturing grape vines and olive trees.
The cypress tree has also been a symbol of grief and the famous Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphoses (Metamorphoses x.106ff) tells the tale of the beloved boy Cyparissus, adored by the God Apollo. Cyparissus accidentally kills his pet stag and in his inconsolable grief asks ‘Apollo to let his tears fall forever’. Apollo grants this request and turns the boy into a cypress tree. The tree sap forms droplets (tears) which fall on the trunk of the cypress tree. As anyone who has loved and lost a beloved pet, my heart understood the emotion of Cyparissus. Therefore, if you see someone hugging the trees on cypress alley, it may likely be me.