Ah, the name must mean Park of the Plant Maze. Actually, Horta is a district of the City and this is the Labyrinth park of Horta.
With a great sense of history the brochure mentions that this late 18th Century garden was the longest continually maintained historic garden/estate in the City. But it still required EU monies to get it fixed up in 1993. Sadly, we had this rather large garden to ourselves for much of our time there.
The park was designed by Joan Antoni Desvalls, Marquès of Alfarràs and Llupià, who personally oversaw the construction process. Ultimately the complex water systems and steep site required to also invlved an Italian engineer, Domenico Bagutti. The entrance to the park is guarded by the Marquis' grand country house, built on a 14th Century castle.
The gardens, designed by a true student of the Enlightenment, are a lesson Love. As visitors progress linearly through this park, a quintessential neo-classical experience leads them past iconography telling Love's story. At the center of the story is the labyrinth which houses a sculpture of Eros and has temples to Danae and Ariadne. You are supposed to be able to find your way through the maze without Danae and Ariadne fabled thread. But there were gaps in the cypress hedge where other visitors have copped out. it probably took us about 20 minutes with some deliberate deadends along the way.
The Canal of Love runs above the labyrinth and ends at the Island of Love. It has different little spritzers and swans that liven it up a bit.
High a top the hill is a Neo-Classical pavillion with a pool that is home to Egeria. By my calculations, this area is nearly 15 stories higher than the park entrance. The whole thing seemed a little Tuscan which (if true) might be an Enlightened nod to the thinkers and artists in Florence, might be part of a continuing Roman Romance that dominates this latin city, or might just be whjat happens when you hie an Italian engineer.
On the way down you snake along trails through a mature forest and gardens nestled beneath its canopy.
Near the end visitors pass this waterfall with feeds a stream that meanders through a Romantic Garden. It was incredible to think about the water movement system within the garden relative to this very steep site. More importantly, both boys were awake for photos and we took advantage of the moment.
How does Love end? Death. The sequence ends at a Fake Crypt which provides a contrast to the livelier parts of the Romance Garden. This must have been a great stop in the garden for courting couples.
It is a park, so you have to provide a place for play. Right?
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