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115-year-old fit cut down in Bolzano

Big commotion: 115-year-old fir cut down and handed to Austria for Christmas

“It is unconscionable for the Province to cut off a natural life like this. We are all aware that the fate of a single tree cannot influence the fate of our ecosystem, but this story exemplifies how the administration views nature.”

This is just one of the remarks that have been spreading on social media since October 23, when the province of Bolzano approved the removal of a 115-year-old fir tree. A tradition that has existed since 1959 but does not appear to be well embraced by Italians and others. 

It may appear to be a contradiction in light of the current climate, in which we hear about sustainability everywhere. However, this decision was made several months ago, and the goal, as they say, was to find the right fir…

The felling of a long-lived fir

With the arrival of Christmas, they also begin to approach all the preparations to which we have been used but to which we frequently fail to pay attention. This is the situation with the most recent news from the Trentino Alto Adige province of Bolzano. It is now regarded as being Italy’s most famous and largest Christmas market, but its records do not stop there. 

Bolzano's Christmas Markets
The Christmas markets in Bolzano are a long-awaited attraction, come and enjoy them! | Credit

The province of Bolzano has guaranteed an unusual transit to the City Hall of Vienna, where the fir will be officially lit on November 11, for a cost of 44,000 euros. A new round of criticism has been leveled against the decision to illuminate Christmas in Vienna. In addition to openly opposing the destruction of a 28-meter-high Val di Tamersc spruce in the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Natural Park, the detractors did not even welcome the significant financial investment, which might undoubtedly be put to better use in the city.

When in Rome do as the Romans do!

The municipal government in Bolzano does not appear to be backing down or embracing the citizens’ strong criticism. We’re talking about a very old tradition that has been going on since 1969. With all probability, it is unlikely to end in 2023 simply because of citizens’ will. Every year, a province is chosen to bring its tree to the square, according to tradition. It was 1981, 2014, and now 2023 in Bolzano.

 115-year-old fit cut down in Bolzano
Fir felling for transport to Vienna | Credit

Searching for the ideal fir tree for Viennese Christmas

The fir, which will be destroyed at the end of the Christmas season, has to adhere to exacting specifications. As a result, the search began months ago because exploring the terrain was difficult.

For this year, the fir had to grow between 25 and 28 meters tall, with regular branches no wider than 3.5 meters broad. The ease of felling, so being in a comfortable position as well as being as easy to move along the roads of the Italian-Austrian border, was a detail not to be overlooked. 

The spruce even received a formal ceremony with the local officials, which is strange but true. What can we say? We shall see how the issue evolves and, most importantly, whether the tradition will be maintained in the future.

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