The stately spruce tree from the Bavarian-Czech border region is 25 meters high and up to 11 meters wide. Come Christmas Day, the gazes of over one billion people will be turned its way, making it a Christmas tree in the truest sense of the word. None other than Pope Francis will welcome the tree in the Vatican. The employees and agents of the Munich-based Allianz agency of Alexander Ascherl will beam with pride, when the tree arrives safe and sound in Rome, delivered by Ascherl’s customer Raedlinger.
The tradition to erect a Christmas tree on St. Peter's square in Rome goes back to 1982. Pope John Paul II initiated this tradition. Each year, a different country has the honor of providing the tree. The small Bavarian village of Waldmuenchen has already had the honour once before in 1984. A local committee has organized an entire "Christmas tree for Rome" fest.
A Blessing for the journey
The most complex planning was needed to organize the gigantic tree's transportation. After it was felled in the forest, the six-ton spruce was transported to Waldmuenchen by helicopter belonging to the German Armed Forces. From there the journey went on by truck, which belongs to Ascher’s corporate customer, the transport company Raedlinger.
The first stop was in Regensburg, where Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer conferred his blessing for the 1200 kilometer long journey to the Vatican. Another stopover was made at Munich's Odeon square, where a Bavarian politican gave secular commendations for a safe passage. "We do not deal with such extraordinary cases every day," explains Wittmann, a customer service employee at Ascherl Allianz agency. They wrote the policy through esa cargo & logistics, a German Allianz subsidiary specialized on transport insurance.