The prize winning park of Piedmont's Racconigi Castle.
Situated half an hour away from Turin, Racconigi Castle, once the summer residence of the Princes of Carignano, is one of Royal Residences of the House of Savoy, and has been given World Heritage status by UNESCO.
In 2010, the Castle's landscaped park was voted "Italy's Most Beautiful Park"
From French to English
Like the castle's past inhabitants, the park has noble origins. Created in 1667 by the celebrated André Le Nôtre, the man responsible for the gardens of Versailles, the park originally featured an exquisite French Garden, divided into ornate flower beds and a parterre.
A century later, Princess Giuseppina of Lorena expressed her desire to transform the castle grounds into "something more intriguing" and the park was given a less formal, more romantic look, typical of the English Gardens in vogue at the time.
Today the park appears as it did during the reign of Prince Carlo Alberto, with woods, winding pathways, meadows, follies, ornate bridges and a small lake
Part of the park's appeal is the way in which it merges into the surrounding landscape, thus becoming the natural habitat for numerous protected species. Stalks regularly nest here. Close to the park, a Wild Animal Recovery Center has been created.
The green houses
One of the most memorable parts of the Racconigi Park has to be the Margaria, a red brick building constructed in Neo-Gothic style in the mid 19th century, and surrounded by the Royal green houses which, a century ago, were amongst the most famous in Europe.
The Margaria was built by Prince Carlo Alberto as center of agricultural innovation and to house rare flowers and plants from every corner of the world
Today a project is under way to retransform the Margaria into an organic farm with a school for students wishing to learn the art of maintaining historic parks and gardens.
Tours, books and events
Racconigi Castle and Park have been used as sets for a number of costume dramas. Today's visitors can relive the magic of times past, touring the grounds by horse drawn carriage.
Open on Sundays, the Library in the Park lends visitors books and a handy blanket too!
Racconigi Park provides the enchanting venue for numerous events, including a biannual International Sculpture exhibition and the Potager Royal Flower festival.
Park of Racconigi Castle
via Morosini, 3
Tel. +39 0172 84005
From Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 19.00.
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