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Comune di Ponzano Monferrato

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Comune di Ponzano Monferrato
Ponzano castle

The widespread garden

To discover the historical and botanical gardens of Casale Monferrato

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Cavallero Castle of Ponzano


 

The building complex, located on a hill overlooking the village of Ponzano Monferrato, was mentioned for the first time in the Diploma of 1014, with which Harry “the Patron” donated the land to the Church of Vercelli.
In 1200 the Castle, identified by a lot of scholars as a shelter, became the fief of the De Ponzano, Castellazzo, Saliceto and De Setaria Families.
The historical sources cite an act of 1431 from which we can get information about the structure of the building complex,  consisting of a residential building called “palace”, a tower of the nobles and a moat. The presence of the gardens, which were presumably located beyond the moat, was attested for the first time in 1588.
From the end of the XVI century Lord Marcello Donato (Count since 1635), Cattaneo, Tizzoni and Dalla Chiesa (also known as “Marquis of Cinzano”) would reign.
There is no information about the shape of the garden facing the building, however the presence of an artichoke bed, which had been subject of attention for some centuries, was attested in 1737.
During the early XIX century several interventions were made on the main building, due to the new residential requirements and the gardens and the park surrounding the Castle were probably fixed up.
In 1877 “…Knight Camozzi has converted an isolated cone into a garden with flowers and it is his desire that a lot of ornamental plants are sown, as they will be the most necessary and homogeneous decoration of the rich and elegant building”.
In the late XIX century either Knight Camozzi or the following owner, Countess Adele Hebert Ferreri, realized the garden that is still found on the hillside east to the castle. It is characterized by some winding paths bordered by hedgerows of boxwood. They lie on the slant of the hill and converge at a circular tank made of chert.
The original choice of a garden lying on a slant, unique in Monferrato, is also found in two gardens of Biella. It points out the desire of the owners to conform themselves to the new trends spread by magazines and exhibitions that had just begun to diffuse in the north of the country.

 

The Park of Cavallero Castle of Ponzano

Once through the hallway we immediately feel peaceful because of the harmony of the colors, in particular the ochre of the plaster, the various shades of green of the plants, the shrubs and the lawn and, finally, the pearl-grey of the  gravel of the paths.
The walkways surround the turf, they follow the borders of the beds of roses and rosemary and they divide the turf into different parts, in each of which trees and shrubs grow around a more important tree: the majestic cedar. The cedar, however, has its own flower bed.
Other stately trees are a horse chestnut, a Lawson cypress that shapes a curious plant sculpture and, above all, the most fascinating tree in the garden: a Pterocarya  surrounded by Spiraea plants, a Chimonanthus and a sweet-smelling  Olea Fragrans shrub  whose base is surrounded by small palms.
Pterocarya fraxinifolia is a species of tree in the Juglandaceae family which is uncommon in the gardens of Monferrato. Nevertheless the tree that is situated in the garden of the Castle of Ponzano is extremely impressive. Ugo Cavallero, Marshal of Italy, loved spending his spare time in the shade of this Pterocarya. Nowadays the atmosphere of this place is still suffused with the sense of the past, emphasized by some epigraphs.
Boxwood hedges surround the entire building  up to the tower.
The crenellated top of the tower overlooks a boundless landscape: we can see the Po valley, the Alps, the Apennines, the “old Piedmont”, the Lombardy valley, some villages of Monferrato, the peak of Crea and the town of Moncalvo.
The garden is also located on a slope. High boxwood hedges form intriguing paths in the shade of impressive trees, such as cedars of Lebanon, Deodar cedars, firs, yews and hollies.
The paths converge at a circular tank that shows the intact sculptural base in “rocailles” on which it was built.