The Walnut Tree of Benevento

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Benevento is well known for being the city where witches from all over the world used to gather to celebrate the Sabbath under a centuries-old walnut tree.

The walnut tree, incredibly high and evergreen, was located in the so-called bank of janare along one of the rivers of the city, the Sabato. This area was also the main place where witches used to collect medicinal and hallucinogenic herbs.

Why the walnut tree was chosen as the witches’ gathering place?

It has to be emphasized that never, according to the tradition, a walnut tree enjoyed a good reputation. There are several reasons for this: its fruits are enclosed in a wooden shell shaped like a human brain; at the bottom of the tree the grass is scarce; and the walnut leaves contain substances toxic to humans .The tree also has the unique characteristics of having good or bad properties, depending on how its branches, leaves, fruits and wood are handled.