The Royal Park of Racconigi
An oasis of greenery and water
The Royal Castle of Racconigi is one of the residences of the Savoy Royal Family and it bears witness to the splendour of bygone days. The castle's beauty and historical relevance have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Not only the residence is surprisingly beautiful, but also its park. Much more than a garden, it looks like an enormous work of art, a hymn to elegance, beauty and simplicity, with its harmonious and apparently natural alternation of lawns, groves and ponds.
Why it is special
Usually a park is defined as Italian-style if it is more geometric, or English-style if it simulates a natural landscape. This park definitely belongs to the second type, and yet, it is not a typical romantic park either. This is probably due to the restoration carried out in the 1830s by architect Xavier Kurten, who made it one of the most significant examples in Europe of attention towards nature and landscape.
Not to be missed
A stroll along the paths of the majestic garden is truly an experience not to be missed. It is even better if you take advantage of the calmness of the place by sitting by the ponds to observe the many species of birds swimming in its waters. But there is also another spectacle offered by the Racconigi park: the foliage. In autumn, the trees light up with the warm colours of the season and are reflected in the pond, creating a magnificent swirl of red, orange and yellow that warms the heart.
A bit of history
The park of Racconigi was originally an Italian-style garden designed in the 17th century by Le Notre, the architect who had supervised the creation of the Versailles gardens. The transformation of some areas of the property into an English-style park took place in the 18th century, from a design by Pregliasco. In the following century, in the 1930s, the park was redesigned by architect Xavier Kurten. Between the 19th and 20th centuries, it suffered a period of decline, being largely converted to farm land, and suffering the consequences of the two World Wars. Fortunately, a series of interventions and restorations brought the park back to the splendour sought by the German architect.
Good to know
The Racconigi park is particularly rich in birdlife, including many species of ducks, such as the colourful mandarin duck, the crowned crane and many storks. Certainly, these birds are attracted by the quietness of the place, but perhaps they are also attracted by a small marshy area, a little to the north of the park, a perfect habitat for these species. What makes it even more attractive is the fact that here the birds are safe from any danger: this is also a protected oasis called the Stork Centre.
Note. The park can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm.
Credit to: Alessandro Gallione