Turin’s oldest public park, the Valentine Park (Parco del Valentino) is also one of the city’s prettiest green spaces. Measuring nearly 125 acres (50.5 hectares), the landmark made its debut in 1852 and hugs the River Po. In addition to prime picnicking turf, the park also contains attractions ranging from a replica medieval village to the grand Castello del Valentino.
Known to locals as “Il Valentino,” this sweeping public park is the second-largest in the city and is frequented by visitors and Turin residents alike. Its crowning glory is the Castello del Valentino (a royal residence of the House of Savoy and UNESCO World Heritage Site), but the Parco del Valentino also houses myriad other highlights, from botanical gardens and a reproduction of a medieval village to paved pathways that once constituted a racetrack. Alongside the Mole Antonelliana, the park has become a popular symbol of the city.
The Parco del Valentino can be glimpsed on hop-on hop-off bus itineraries, and it is also a popular stop on languid bike tours of Turin.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The park is free for all to visit, though entry policies for individual attractions vary.
- Boat rentals are hosted on the River Po during the warmer months.
- Landscape architect Jean-Pierre Barillet-Deschamps contributed to the park’s design, while sculptor Pietro Canonica created the triumphal arch that stands at its entrance.
- The Parco del Valentino was once host to major automotive events, from the Gran Premio del Valentino to the Italian Grand Prix.
How to Get There
The Parco del Valentino is located within easy walking distance of central Turin, and it is also served by the 7, 9, 16CD, 16CS, 18, 24, 33, 52, 67, 91T, 93,108, 259, and 299 tram and bus lines. Alternatively, the park can be reached by car (there are numerous parking spaces available for visitors) or by bike (the park is crisscrossed by paved, bike-friendly paths).
When to Get There
While the Parco del Valentino is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is best to visit during daytime hours. Note that the hours for individual attractions can vary, so it’s wise to research in advance of your travels. The park is at its most appealing during the spring and summer months, when picnickers spend long hours relaxing on the grass.
The Castello del Valentino
Dating to the early 17th century, the grand Castello del Valentino is the park’s picturesque highlight. Formally a royal home for members of the House of Savoy, the facility now houses a branch of the Polytechnic University of Turin and is only occasionally open to the public. Its grounds house the Orto Botanico dell'Università di Torino, a major botanical garden and arboretum.