This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
“A prince, a duke, and a marquis walk into a villa” … or rather they can all be counted among its past owners, and an opera impresario is credited as its architect. Tucked away among the lush gardens of the Parco della Tesoriera sits Villa Tesoriera, a Baroque-style country house whose history is as grand as its architectural design.
Before housing various members of Italian nobility, the Villa’s foundation was laid for Aymo Ferrero Cocconato, the treasurer to the Duke of Savoy and the King of Sicily, Victor Amadeus II. Cocconato was a powerful and influential member of society who also served as an advisor to the King who spared no expense when it came to the Villa.
Its design is credited to Jacopo Maggi, a scenographer, costumer designer, and impresario of the Teatro Regio opera house in Turin. Maggi’s theatrical ties are evident in the Villa’s magnificent Baroque frescoes and ornate stuccos.
The property was later expanded to include a chapel, library, and east & west wings. As its list of additions grew, so too did its owners. In 1869, the Director of the Albertina Academy of Fine Art purchased the Villa, adding the surrounding gardens. Then in 1934, Prince Amadeo of Savoy became owner for a short time before WW2, where it would ultimately fall prey to the German occupation.
The Villa has since been restored and reopened to house the Andrea Della Corte Civic Music Library, dedicated to classical and jazz music. Yet, as enchanting as the Villa may be, its most captivating occupant is more of a haunting sort. In Turin, the Villa is also known as the “Garden of the Devil” due to legends of a black knight periodically arriving on horseback in the park – perhaps the ghost of Cocconato visiting his beloved home.
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