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Orazio Gonzaga Castle Garden and Park

Orazio Gonzaga castle garden and Park

italiano Italian version

Private property


Climbing towards the Castello di Solferino from the road running through the hamlet of Pozzo Catena, you can see on the right, beyond the farmland, a great flat lawn that fills a depression between three hills: those on which the castle and stronghold stand and that on which the Red Cross Memorial was built. This lawn is the territorial imprint of the ancient park of the Castello di Solferino, a great master garden, productive but decidedly formalized, which stretched along the foot of the castle, in the place of the lost Palazzo di Orazio Gonzaga to which it was once attached. A survey from 1587-88 reveals the shape and size of the garden: it was surrounded by a wall and divided by a central avenue into two great beds, with rows of trees and partially planted with vines. The surrounding wall towards the south east, although very broken and in places in ruins, still stands and there is a recognizable pathway towards the upper part, which once held a walled asparagus garden, still visible in Google Map images. Towards the south west, you can identify the terracing of the wooded river areas, shown in the survey, which formed the end of the park. From the stronghold, you get a very clear view perfectly outlining this area. From the flat land of the former park, however, you get an evocative view of the castle with the guard tower and partially turreted stone walls. Created upon the demands of Orazio Gonzaga between 1560 and 1580, the Castello di Solferino preserves its original conformation. Most of the original buildings survived until the 1800s but many were lost with the Battle of Solferino: as well as the structures in the park, the stage of the battle, the Palazzo di Orazio, with its beautiful Italian garden clearly shown in the survey of 1587-88, were destroyed. The garden space, a rectangle of around 14 x 27 metres against the wall, became part of private property on which new buildings were erected with their own gardens.

(From  L. Giacomini, Il giardino e barco del castello di Orazio Gonzaga, in I giardini dei Gonzaga 2018, pp. 427-432)


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