The Parco del Valentino is a true fairy tale castle in Turin and one of the main attractions of the city, not far from the goal of four hundred years of history.
The Castello del Valentino – Valentino’s castle – was built on a previous settlement for the Savoia family (later the royal family of Italy) between 1630 and 1660, by the architect Carlo Cognengo di Castellamonte (1571 – 1640) and his son Vittorio Amedeo.
The Savoy neither ever forgot, nor hid, their transalpine relationships and origin and The Castello del Valentino is in French style, reminding of the Louvre or Versailles.
For a couple of centuries the castle have been lazily watching the Po river flowing by.
Then the aftermath of a revolution… revolutionised Turin forever.
Napoleon: the “father” of a new Turin
Napoleon victories in the Italian campaigns let France annex Piedmont. One of Napoleon’s decisions is the demolition of Turin’s city walls and a new urban plan for the city.
But it will be a little bit later, in 1863, that the works for a public park in the Valentino area start.
The bourgeoisie is gaining in importance and the wealthy families need open spaces to share with their peers.
Parco del Valentino, as it is now
An important expansion dates to 1884: the “Borgo medievale”, the recreation of a medieval village with its stronghold.
With it the Parco del Valentino reaches its current structure.
The reasons to visit the park are many: the garden holds around 1800 trees. The proximity of the river makes the park perfect for bird – watching as well: grey herons, mallards, coots and among the birds of prey, the black kite.
The Fontana dei Dodici Mesi – Twelve Months Fountain – is the perfect spot to relax with the soothing sound of water in background. The already mentioned “Borgo medievale” is always buzzing with activities and exhibitions: reenactment events, kids workshops – even medieval sword classes!
You can easily get to the Parco del Valentino via bus or subway, and the park is not far from the Torino Porta Nuova Train Station.