The Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze supports the activity of the Chestnut Study and Documentation Centre with a view to fostering conservation, study and the spread of knowledge about chestnuts, as well as creating modern demo plants as an alternative to traditional chestnut growing. The chestnut trees are considered as veritable “patriarchs”, and represent a naturalistic and historic legacy of the greatest significance for Italy. They are authentic monuments within the landscape, and their longevity is of extreme importance even in economic-production terms in view of the significant genetic heritage which they bear, having survived unscathed through so many centuries of atmospheric adversities and climate changes.
Another aspect of the greatest importance is the role they play in soil protection. The chestnut woods indeed make a major contribution to combating deterioration of the soil and hydro-geological decay. They do this both directly – through an extremely robust root apparatus – and indirectly, as a result of the lush undergrowth of grass and shrubs.
The main aim of the Centre, which has its premises in Marradi in the province of Florence, is to promote information campaigns on the subject of the chestnut tree, using both innovative information systems and demonstrations.
The addressees of these initiatives are mainly those involved in chestnut growing: producers, technicians, associations, companies engaged in the transformation of the product, researchers, students and administrators from both public and private bodies.