Parco Giardino Sigurtà (Sigurtà Garden Park)
Open from March 6 to November 6 (2016)
Since Mr. TWS and I are bike-riding enthusiasts, a bike tour of an award-winning park and gardens in Italy sounded like an awesome idea. So I really looked forward to this part of our stay in Mantua, Italy.
I hope these photos will give you a good idea of our experience and inspire you to visit Parco Giardino Sigurtà which about 28 miles north of Mantua in the village of Valeggio sul Mincio.
Let’s get on our bikes and go!
We had a great time on our bike ride around the park with our MantovabikeXperience guide Stefano Cabrini. The route that we followed had a few mild hills to climb, but was generally easy. We went along at a fairly slow pace to really enjoy the beauty around us and took a few breaks to walk among the flora and look at the views of the countryside.
And since it was mid-April when we visited, gorgeous tulips of every color were a feast for the eyes.
Mr. TWS, who often notices and comments on similarities of events and places to movie scenes, likened one green hilly landscape to the hillside viewed in the opening of The Sound of Music, where Maria sings the movie’s theme song.
Stefano took us along lovely paths by some of the park’s 18 ponds and lakes where we stopped to admire the views of the surrounding area and the lush gardens.
Of note, there are an amazing 40,000 box trees in the park, the world’s largest collection of them, and a four-centuries-old Great Oak with a trunk of 6 meters and a crown of 120 meters.
A maze winding among 1500 sculpted yew trees was much fun. I quickly lost my way, but then followed a group of school children scurrying through the foliage who easily found their out.
We stopped briefly at the entrance to “The Castelletto” shown above where important meetings have previously been held with famous guests of the park such as renowned scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Alexander Fleming. The plaque commemorates their visits.
There is bronze statue by sculptor Dante Carpigiani honors Dr. Carlo Sigurtà (1898-1983) who purchased this 600,000 square meters of land in 1941. Since the early 15th century the estate had been owned by various aristocratic families and originally used for growing food for livestock. With the help of his son Enzo, Dr. Sigurtà accomplished his goal of creating a “green wonderland” and in 1978 Parco Giardino Sigurtà was opened to the public. The park is still owned and managed by the family.
We loved our bike experience in this gorgeous park and highly recommend it, but there are other options for visiting the park, too — on foot, tourist train, shuttle, and golf cart.
Thanks to Parco Giardino Sigurtà and Palazzo Castiglioni for hosting our park visit. Thanks to Stefano Cabrini for showing us the sights.