Golden Tree of Lucignano: the lucky charm of lovers

March 28, 2014

Lucignano, a small medieval village in the Valdichiana, near Arezzo, jealously guards a rare and precious object: the only shrine in the world in the shape of a tree, commonly known as the Golden Tree of Lucignano, or Tree of Life or Tree of Love. This marvel of Gothic jewelery is kept in a large glass case in the center of the Audience Hall of the Municipal Museum.

Made in 121 years, from 1350 to 1471, by two goldsmiths of the school of Siena and Arezzo, Ugolino da Vieri and Gabriello D'Antonio, the Golden Tree is 2,60 meters high and consists of a silver-gilt frame placed on a glass case in the Gothic temple with three shelves, in turn, supported by a large golden base. Twelve branches grow from the trunk, six on the right and six on the left, covered with glazed vine leaves and ending with small shrines for relics, medallions that originally contained miniatures and rock crystals surrounded by coral branches to symbolize the blood of Jesus. The whole work culminates with a crucifix on top of it and a pelican who pecks at its chest to feed its youngs with its own blood, a sacrifice that emulates the act of love accomplished by Christ towards humanity.

According to an ancient local tradition, the Golden Tree brings good luck to lovers (this is why a lot of people also call it Tree of Love), and so it's custom of Arezzo's bride and groom to promise each other fidelity in front of the shrine, considered a symbol of eternal love. For the same reason the visits to the Golden Tree multiply in the period of Valentine's Day, with tourists coming from all over Tuscany and Italy.

The Municipal Museum, which houses the Golden Tree of Lucignano, is located in Piazza del Tribunale 22. Opening hours in winter are from 10AM to 1PM and from 2:30PM to 5:30PM, from Friday to Sunday, while in summer it is expected to open on Thursday with the extension of the closure until 7PM. The ticket costs 3 €, with discount for students, seniors and groups. Infotel : +39 0575 838001.

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