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Casino di Sopra or Bell’aria Garden

Casino di Sopra or Bell’aria garden

italiano Italian version

Private property

Around a quarter of a mile south of Novellara, on the Strada Provinciale 3, you can see the so-called Casino di Sopra, or Casino di Bell’aria, on your right, today surrounded by an estate of one and a half hectares derived from resizing the original area of land. The 16th century building, characterised at the time of its construction by four corner towers, today reduced to two, with its surrounding farm buildings, is situated in a predominantly rural area. Although not as isolated as it would once have been, given the development of an industrial area on the left of the main road, it keeps itself physically separated from the built up area, thanks in part to the drainage canal dating back to 1930 that lies between it and the road. The current garden planted at the start of the 1900s and reorganized around 1950, features two tree-lined lawns that lie in front of the main entrance to the Casino, surrounded by plants; there are a few oaks that date back to the early 1900s, cypresses, yews, a horse chestnut and a sophora. The perimeter of the garden features a rose garden of ancient and rustic varieties. On the path to the gate to the villa, beyond the garden, two rows of young mulberries have been planted, leading as far as the canal, to restore the perspective of the ancient access road. The digging of the canal in 1930 caused the demolition of the ancient road of access to the property, north and south of which once stood the San Lorenzo oratory and the guard’s house, connected by a loggia, beyond which the avenue began. The complex, made up of the residence and numerous outbuildings, was commissioned by the wife of Count Alessandro Gonzaga di Novellara, Costanza da Correggio, between 1541 and 1542. The estate was completed, as is proven by a description from 1595, by around five hectares of land: gardens, orchards, vegetable gardens and woodland, with avenues lined with columns, pillars, espaliers or pergolas and decorated at their crossroads with small pavilions with cupolas, fisheries, a lily pond, a fountain and a scenic area; a hunting lodge and cultivated land. Today, there is nothing remaining of the original system, aside from a few traces of sediment.

(From  S. Torresan, Il giardino del Casino di Sopra o di Bell'aria, anche di San Lorenzo, in I giardini dei Gonzaga 2018, pp. 456-459)


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