Melano Park | Rivoli, Italy | Cristina Gragnolati

In Italy,  the history of a place starts from far away. Everywhere you can find elements of many eras.  Melano Park is the sum and stratification of different historical layers.  It was a part of historical garden, after became agricultural area that was abandoned, and after the second world war,over the next sixty years grew into an intricate wood and wild weed infested landscape.




The new park covers about 3.5 acres and it is located on the hill near the Castello di Rivoli Museum. The castle is part of the crown of Savoy, built in the 17th century. In the 1990’s it was restored to exhibit important collections of contemporary art.


The Park area is fully isolated from historic stone walls sides and the land is strong inclination. Inside it was groves century trees and wild vegetation. Beautiful historical plane trees were planted in the 19th century, when the area was transformed into a garden built by Lord  Melano. There is an allele of trees of 200 year old Platanus orientalis. When they were planted in a special candelabrum-shaped form but in recent years have not been maintained and have grown with stability and security problems.

Initially,  the area was infested with weeds such as Rubus, Altianhus regia, Robinia pseuacacia, Sambucus nigra and herbaceous vegetation that covered the whole area, which blocked the entrance to the Park making entering the site difficult for the team to make proper analysis and surveys. The team surveyed and catalogued over 360 large trees including historical trees.

The city of Rivoli has deemed the site a public park and commissioned a new Park project. The project started in the 2012 the design phase and in to 2013 the construction phase, with the park opening to the public in March 2014. Over recent months the park has had many hundreds of visitors and the new park is most appreciated by the local citizens.


Build with nature
Main idea was to design a park where nature is the dominant element. The new Park was intended to be like a garden but with with the characteristics of a nature reserve. The transformation has focused on the vegetation and creating new paths for visitors. The process of naturalize started with freeing the area of weeds and cleaning up and pruning historical plants to allow easy and secure access for the public.


In some areas, the weeds species mixed with seeding on flowering meadows and many invasive species was selected and left to grow naturally. The only tree introduced was the Pawlonia tomentosa why is not native. It is a tree that grows fast, has very large flowers and a tree visibly outsider. This choice was made because this is a tree that grows fast, has very large flowers. It is the exotic element inserted in the 19th-century garden.



Natural Materials
All materials were selected for their eco charateristic, with all park roads and public squares using permeable paving using Roman method called calcestre.  The park lanes were setout by maintaining existing trees and the surface water is captured and used within the park with a system of wells.



This project primarily turned an overgrown forest into a place where the human presence is not disruptive to animals and where the vegetation will provide food for local fauna. The reclamation of the area has made this park accessible to everyone by providing a green area with a high level of biodiversity.



Melano Park | Rivoli, Italy | Cristina Gragnolati Firm , construction supervision: CRISTINA GRAGNOLATI Iandscape architect

Consultants – safety control: ICIS Engineering

General constructor : AGRIFOREST Coop,

Area owner : CITY OF RIVOLI

Cost of implementation: €1.070.000,00

Build time: November 2012-December 2013

Text authour :    Cristina Gragnolati

Photographers: Cristina Gragnolati – Rosanna Castrini


About Damian Holmes 3138 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at