From 1981 during Christmas time a group of volunteers realizes what became the biggest Christmas Tree in the whole world, according to the Guinnes world record book. This is a creation that finds its continuity in time in the spirit of the volunteering.
The figure of the Christmas Tree is realized by putting on the slopes of Mount Ingino, on the back of the medieval city of Gubbio, illuminated bodies of various colors, which draw a very particular and unique chromatic effect. It has a base of 450 meters and it extends for about 750 meters (just a few meters less than thirty football fields), hiding its roots inside the medieval city walls, and arriving on top of the mountain to the Patron’s Church, Sant’Ubaldo, with the big star at the top of the tree.
On December 7th of every year, the Christmas Tree gets turned on during a manifestation that shows uses of our centuries-old-traditions.
The manifestation is presided over by personalities of the world of institutions, culture, science and volunteering. In 2014 Pope Francis lit up the Tree, in 2013 was the director of Caritas Italia Don Francesco Soddu, in 2012 the president of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, and in 2011 Pope Benedetto XVI. Previously, to preside over the ceremony were the undersecretary for Civil Protection, Guido Bertolaso, the president of Libera, don Luigi Ciotti, the general director of Telethon, Pietro Spirito, the director of the European Institute of Oncology and Pier Giuseppe Pelicci.
The Tree never leaves indifferent but always manages to excite and re-emerge those feelings that sometimes the daily routine has clouded: amazement, wonder, enthusiasm, all feelings that lead us to feel closer, to be together with greater understanding, sharing, tolerance and brotherhood.
Drawing with a luminary a very precise object that has the dimensions of thirty football fields is not easy. If you then think that the surface are the wild slopes of a mountain, then you begin to imagine the difficulties of our work.
If you want to better understand why the people from Gubbio are said to be "crazy", everything is done for free by pure spirit of volunteer work.
The world’s largest Christmas Tree lighting systems uses around 35 kW of power and consume an average of around 11,500 kWh annually.
A photovoltaic system consisting of 16 modules of 280 W each, installed on the roof of the Committee building, provides during the year to generate an amount of energy that covers a large part of the electricity needs of the lighting systems of the Tree during the ignition period. The plant operates in connection with the LV distribution grid according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Productive Activities. A "green" plant demonstrates a special attention to the environment and a constant search for solutions, aimed at the full environmental sustainability of the project.
In order to become legal, the group of volunteers who gave life in 1981 to the first construction of the Tree decided to form a Committee in 1992.
The name chosen was, just referring to the appearance of the Tree in the Guinness Book of Records in 1991: "The biggest Christmas tree in the world committee".
Today the Committee, which has the status of a Social Promotion Association, is composed of 50 members; the youngest is 19 years old, the oldest is 86: a splendid example of generational integration where fathers and sons, grandparents and grandchildren work side by side, all moved by the same spirit of collaboration, respect and friendship.
This year, along the roads of Mount Ingino, some autonomous audio units have been installed, each consisting of two speakers, an amplifier, an audio streaming converter and a wireless internet connection system.
And here the Tree lights up with lights and music: all the audio units are connected to the internet simultaneously by taking the Christmas music from the remote source. And so the path along the roads of Mount Ingino that cross the thousand multicolored lights of the Tree becomes even more magical.