Chestnuts have been an important part of the lives of the people of Italy for centuries. In times of famine they saved people from starvation. The trees provide wood for building, furniture and to burn for fuel.
There are approximately 850,000 hectares of chestnut forests in Italy, and around 39,500 hectares in the Lucca province alone.
So it is alarming that there is a disease attacking chestnut trees. Chestnut blight, or Endothia parasitica first appeared in 1938, but it the last few years the problem seems to be growing.
The disease appears a a lump at the base of the leaves.
The leaves die and the tree is then unable to produce chestnuts.
Let’s hope scientists can come up with a cure for this destructive disease. Apart from anything else, chestnut trees are beautiful. It is a delight to drive through chestnut forests in the mountains around Bagni di Lucca.