A lovely park packed with attractions and is just outside the city centre along the west bank of the River Po. The park originated in 1630 and contains many beautiful and historic buildings, botanical gardens, artworks and promenades by the river.
Valentino Castle is the most prominent building in the park, being a large 17th century pleasure palace in French Pavillion style. It has a big symmetrical central building with high pavilions, from which come two smaller wings with pavilions to form a horse shoe shape, which has a big marble paved courtyard inside. It appears much like a french chateau with stately buildings topped by angular slate roofs.
Next to and around Valentino Castle are the botanical gardens and arboretum of the University of Turin. This current location of the gardens was first used in the 1730s and has developed since to cultivate nearly 4000 species. The gardens include alpine plants, fruit trees, medicinal plants, ponds, south africa greenhouse, cactus house, systematic beds, tropical house and a tree lined avenue. Turin’s botanical gardens played an important part in plant research in Italy.
In the south of the park and by the river is a reproduction medieval village and stronghold built for the Turin International Exposition in 1884. The multi towered castle with high stone walls and battlements looks authentic and romantic and is surrounded by a period village of medieval houses, with narrow streets and artisan shops.
Near the medieval village is Turin’s Exhibition Hall and Conference Centre, the location of Turin’s famous international motor show until 1990. The most notable building here is the Giovanni Agnelli Pavilion which accommodates over 4000 people under an airy vaulted concrete roof.
Also in the park are Turins oldest fencing club in the historical Villa Glacini, a fine art gallery in the classical exhibition hall of Via Crivelli, an ornate rococo water fountain called the ‘Fountain of 12 Months’ and Turin’s largest synagogue.
Palatine Towers and Archaeological Park
The Paletine Towers are Turin’s old 1st century BC Roman gate house called Porta Palatina, meaning entrance to the palace. They are in an archaeological park at the west side of the Turin Royal Palace Gardens and boast two 30m towers of brick joined by high wall and gate with a stretch of Roman road and pillars leading to reconstructed Roman ramparts.
Paletine Towers are said to be the finest example of a 1st century BC Roman gate.