As of november 6th, Italy entered a second lockdown due to a new wave of covid outbreak (so far, not as wide as in other EU Member States). The whole Country has been divided into 3 areas defined by a colour (yellow, orange and red), and restrictions vary from one region to another depending on the extent of the infection rate, the capacity of local hospitals to accept more ills, the number of available ICU beds and 19 more parameters.
Although I do not like the situation I understand and accept the new restrictions and I know it will be impossible for me to get out of my own house for 1 month, except as for the essentials: buying food, medical treatments or a stroll in the neighborhoods of my own house.
Although most of my daily activities are undergoing several restrictions, I am lucky enough to live close to the biggest park in town: the Mario Carrara Park (commonly referred to by the locals as “Pellerina“).
The city of Torino, in fact, has several parks, some of which are pretty big: The Valentino, The Rivers Junction, the Colonnetti Park, the Vallere, the Army Square and the Pellerina Park. Thus even during the lockdown we can get some relief by taking a stroll or a bike ride or by doing some sport inside the parks, keeping some distance between ourselves and other visitors, wearing a face mask and sanitizing our hands frequently.
Yesterday I took a stroll inside the Pellerina Park. Although the foliage season is almost over, there still are some leaves on the trees, pretty nicely coloured, but especially the walkways were fully covered with a very colourful carpet of leaves, that made the atmosphere even more intense and pleasant.
I don’t know about you but I always wondered why some leaves turn red, other yellow or brown and other turn orange. As I do not have any background in botanics, I asked a friend of mine who works at the Botanical Garden of Torino and she explained me that the colours of the leaves in autumn mostly depend on the quantity of carotinoids which protects them from the UVA rays. These are hidden by the Chlorophyll in summer, which is more prevalent due to the intense sunlight. When the rays of light start being less intense, the chlorophyll diminish and the leaves start changing colour. The final colour of the leaves depends on the quantity of carotinoids and other chemical elements inside of them, thus every tree has a different shade. These are the most common trees in the parks of Torino:
- Maple trees: leaves turn first to yellow, then to red
- Larch trees: leaves turn first to yellow, then to brigh red
- Beech trees: leaves turn first to yellow to then to light brown
- Cherry trees: leaves turn to red
- Ash trees: leaves turn first to yellow then to bark brown
- Plane trees: leaves turn yellow with brown spots
- Oak trees: leaves turn first to yellow then to red
Note that vegetation changes in different areas of the world, thus the list above may not correspond to the trees you find in North America or in Asia and Africa. However the colour-change principle is the same.
Those who love this natural phenomenon have a good chance to observe a very unique urban foliage in Torino both because of the number of parks and the variety of trees inside of them offering a wide colour palette. Thus if you happen to visit the city in autumn don’t forget to include a stroll inside one the local parks which, I assure you, will be one of the most amazing experiences to do in town, perfect for a relaxing experience. Many of them are also well equipped with rest areas for pic nics.
Soon there will be no leaves left on the trees and we will have to wait until next spring to see the rebirth of nature after winter. For now, as the lockdown forces all of us to stay at home, I feel lucky to have the chance of still observing the final phase of this unique and colourful lockdown by simply walking few blocks away from home.
Any park in your city which is worth a visit during the foliage? Write you comments here below and let me know what can be a good urban foliage to put in my bucket list.