Sunday, December 20, 2009

the trees of Roma

I pini di Roma

Maritime pines are the trees of Rome. They represent the city, for me at least. I associate the smell of my city to that of the bark of pine trees. Dry and powdery in summer; dewy, mossy and porous in the colder months.
In my life, I have been around pine trees a lot. I have gathered and then burned many pine cones in the fireplace, the heat releasing a wonderful resin aroma. I have gotten my hands dirty with black pine dust and used a rock to break open the small wooden shells of the cone's pinoli, to eat the delicious gem within. As a child I have braided pine needles and then used them as jewellery. I have picked loose scales of pine bark and used them as tools, writing tablets and make-believe food, sold along with leaves of grass and pebbles in my little fantasy farmer's market. Later, as a young woman, I have kissed under the pines' sheltering umbrella. I have watered them with my tears, embraced them for an energetic boost, and my laughter has often echoed among their sturdy branches. I have gazed up at their colorful inhabitants–swallows, squirrels and parakeets–with awe. I have planted a single pine nut and wept, seeing it sprout a single tiny shoot.

The pine trees of Rome have always accompanied me in the many stages of my life. They were always in the background somewhere nearby, tall and reassuring.


  1. smiles. i grew up around trees, our home was surrounded by a vast forest back then...they played a big role in my growing up. beautiful pic, my friend.

  2. Eleonora, your writing enchants me and no doubt I share some of your pine-related memories and experiences!
    Lovely photo indeed.
    Baci da Verona ...brrrrr

  3. I love your new blog. No wonder, since I also love Rome, but your photos are really great. Keep it coming.

  4. A lovely new blog Eleonra,
    I look forward to touring with you.

  5. Are they also called umbrella pines? Where do they grow besides Italy?

  6. I think in the fastest growing photo blogworld you will be a new voice with your amazing shots, Eleonora:) Will be following your footsteps in my most fave Roma..

  7. I've never been to Rome and wouldn't associate it with pine trees...until I read your post here. I must come see these lovely trees for myself. Your writing is beautifully evocative.

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments!

    MaggieMay~ Don't they?!
    VeggieGirl~ Thank you!
    Brian~ Among my childhood friends I was always the bravest climber. You too, I bet. Thanks friend
    Valeria~ Grazie amica mia...
    CCLinda~ I will, every day. I promise!
    LoriE~ I'm looking forward to showing you around!
    Rosaria~ Yes umbrella pines, indeed. They grow in most of southern Europe.
    Nihal~ Lovely! Thank you.
    Evelyn~ Yes, come to Rome! It's one place you MUST see at least once in your life. Thank you for your words.


  9. my favorite are in Doria Pamphili, or perhaps the park it is my favorite, as it has never been electrified. small areas near the entries only. I have kissed under them like you but I continue to do that as a 50 year old as I did when I was young, in those days we drove in and put newspapers in the windows as everyone lived at home till they were 30... do they still do that?! naps are exquisite on the grass under the pini, and the anziani picking pine nuts and wild cicoria on domenica in their widow's black. The red necked parakeet (escapees from cages whose growing numbers should be considered) Many of Rome' pinis are/ and have reached maturity and are passing on (70-90 year lifespan). And so we need to encourage the replanting as in 20s and 30s the Facists grand schemes including the plantings of many of the pini we enjoy througout Lazio.

    As to other trees the garden in front of the pamphili casino (Algardi) is an amazing group of trees of the americas, this was seen as very chic with Royal aplms from Florida, Bald cypress from the US southern swamps and Tamaracs (also lose needles in winter) to name a few there. The restoration of Doria Pamph in '01-03 they labelled these trees but the markers have disappeared, so if you are american or caribbean perhaps you can identify some

  10. Just found your blog last night! I'm so excited to see all of your wonderful pictures. I too have photographs of these pines. They are beautiful and very interesting. They are what come to mind when I think of Rome.

  11. Thank you for stopping by!
    ~Anonymous, I'm sorry I missed your comment somehow. Thank you for your lovely stroll down memory lane. I am a tree fan, but more Mediterranean-savvy, so I can't be of any help with tropical varieties, sorry!!
    ~Passage to Italy, welcome! The pini di Roma are the quitessential skyline (and dry, powdery aroma) of the city. Especially at dusk.

    E xx


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