Santena, the Park and bonds with the landscape

Xavier Kurten in Piedmont

Prussian landscaper Xavier Kurten, arrived in Italy in 1815, bringing to the Savoy court a taste for the new English garden: his widespread work became in its beauty a showcase for the freedom of nature.

Presumably called by Count Carlo Emanuele Alfieri di Sostegno to manage the park of San Martino Alfieri Castle, he worked directly and indirectly for the Savoy or the Savoy-Carignano for 25 years. Among other things he was inspector of Villa della Regina and of the Royal Gardens in Torino, he designed the park of the Govone Castle and was director of the Royal Park of Racconigi, a post he would cover until his death in 1840.

The rediscovery of nature in Kurten’s gardens occurred in the pursuit of exoticism: gardens were designed to evoke faraway places, widening horizons and providing a range of images of the world. Trees and shrubs were a characteristic element of Kurten’s parks, and were integrated as to be balanced with the architectural context, becoming a fundamental element in diversifying colors and structural aspects.

Due to the fact that the work of such an important exponent of the art of European gardens was until recently unknown, a monograph by the title “Xavier Kurten – Life and work of a landscaper in Piedmont” has been produced by Elena Accati, Agnese Fornaris and Federica Larcher, and published by Celid (Torino).

Among others, the parks designed by, or attributed to Xavier Kurten are: