Wishing for sun, wishing for gardens
Agliè, Arona, Belgirate, Cherasco, Nichelino, Orta San Giulio, Ovada, Pomaro Monferrato, Racconigi, Saluzzo, San Salvatore Monferrato, Stresa, Terruggia, Torino, Venaria Reale, Verbania
Lucio Battisti used to sing “I giardini di marzo si vestono di nuovi colori e le giovani donne in quel mese vivono nuovi amori... ”. (In March the gardens dress in new colours and young women live new loves…) With the arrival of the fine weather, the world takes on a new appearance, restoring energy, happiness and a desire to go outdoors after the deep winter’s sleep. The Piemonte region offers many opportunities to those who like to be immersed in green and want to explore history through nature. Historian and architect of world famous gardens, Paolo Pejrone states that “We are never alone in a garden and it’s rare that we get bored,” and he’s right.
“Green Tourism” enthusiasts can satisfy any whim by exploring the territory in search of natural treasures flourishing with plants and flowers of extraordinary worth. The gardens in Piemonte are grouped into three different geographic areas. The first is the one tied to the Savoy family and the concept of the garden as a “backdrop” for court leisure time. Later, around the 17th-18th century under the influence of the Duchy of Genoa, the beautiful gardens of the Alessandria province are founded such as like the garden of Villa Genova.
Lastly, when Lakes Maggiore and Orta become International tourist destination between 1850 and 1920, many villas were built with their relative “green” ambiances – particularly in the Verbano and Cusio area – suitable to housing plants and, thanks to an extraordinary microclimate, rare and exotic flowers.
The historic gardens are often the setting for castles and royal residences. In Torino the gardens at Palazzo Reale , the Villa La Tesoriera or the one at Villa Abegg , (once known as Vigna di Madama Reale) right at the foot of the hill immediately come to mind.
There are also many historic gardens situated outside the former capital. First of all those at the Savoy residences: the park at the Palazzina di Caccia (Hunting Lodge) Stupinigi, the garden at the Castello di Agliè , the one at the Castello di Racconigi and – a new entry – the splendid gardens at the Reggia di Venaria where, next to the one that is a bit “zen” designed by Giuseppe Penone and Paolo Pejrone, as of the end of April 120 new trees can be admired among which: taxus, maples, sweetgums and liriodendrons.
Aside from the circuit of Savoy residences – found mostly in the Torino and Cuneo provinces – nature lovers can organise a fascinating itinerary in the province of Alessandria where they can admire the fountain at the “Castello di Pomaro”, the “Rose garden” in Terruggia with the most diverse qualities of cedars and giant redwoods as well as the magnificent bald cypress in the park at Ovada’s Villa Gabrieli, recently been placed on the list of historic gardens of botanic interest. The lake area deserves special attention: Lakes are places of incomparable charm, especially for tourists arriving from abroad, that have always appealed to flower lovers. The garden at Orta’s Villa Motta deserves special mention: flowers blossom all year round, from roses to winter and spring cammelias as well as rhododendrons.
In Arona, the collection of pine trees are the protagonists of the garden at Villa Ponti along with the parks at Stresa’s Villa Pallavicino and Villa Ducale or the English garden at Villa Fontana in Belgirate or the gardens in Verbania’s Villa Taranto .
Among the recently added “historic gardens of botanic interest”: the garden at Cherasco’s di San Pietro a Cherasco (Church of Saint Peter) and the park at Saluzzo’s Villa del Belvedere are authentic “green jewels”.
Date of last update: 15/06/2012
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