The Royal Park of Racconigi
An oasis of greenery and water
What it is and where it is
The Royal Castle of Racconigi is one of the Piedmontese residences of the House of Savoy that testify to the splendor of yesteryear. The beauty and historical significance of these residences have made them a rightful entry on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The residence of Racconigi, much loved by the royal family, is astonishingly beautiful, as is its park. More than a garden, it looks like a huge work of art, a hymn to elegance, beauty and simplicity, in a harmonious and seemingly natural alternation of lawns, groves and bodies of water. In short, a place that, yes, was also capable of astonishing visitors, but whose primary purpose was to lovingly welcome the family and its guests.
Why it is special
Usually a park or garden is called Italian or English style if it is more geometric and set, or if it simulates a natural landscape. Here it is undoubtedly the second type, and yet, it is not a typical romantic park either. This fact is probably due to the restoration of the green area in the 1830s by architect Xavier Kurten, who made it one of the most significant examples in Europe of sensitivity to nature and landscape.
A walk through the paths of the majestic garden is truly an experience not to be missed, even better if you take advantage of the calmness aroused by the place to sit by the pond and observe the many species of birds swimming harmoniously on its waters. But there is also another spectacle offered by Racconigi Park: the foliage. In autumn, the trees glow with the warm colors of this season, and are blissfully reflected in the pond, creating a magnificent swirl of red, orange and yellow that warms the heart.
A bit of history
Racconigi Park was initially an Italianate garden designed in the 1600s by none other than Le Notre, the architect who oversaw the creation of the gardens of Versailles. Instead, the transformation of some areas of the property into an English-style park took place in the 1700s based on a design by Pregliasco. The following century, in the 1930s, it was revisited by architect Xavier Kurten. Between the 1800s and 1900s the park suffered a period of decline, being converted largely to farm land, and suffering the consequences of the two world wars. Fortunately, a series of interventions and restorations restored the park to the form the German architect wanted for it.
Racconigi Park is particularly rich in birdlife, including many species of ducks, such as the colorful mandarin duck, the crowned crane, and also many storks that nest here. Certainly these birds are attracted by the quietness of the place, but perhaps they are also attracted by a reality that has arisen nearby: just north of the park boundary, among the cultivated fields, there is a small marshy area, a perfect habitat for these species. Making it even more attractive is the fact that the birds are safe from harm here: this is a LIPU oasis called the Stork Center, which they particularly like to nest here.
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