Caption: On guided tours, visitors can enjoy the architectural
details of the castle's main floor including this ornamental fireplace.
The purchase, planning and restoration of this historical park began in earnest in 1989 when Phoenix voters approved bond funds for this purpose. Through six land purchases, assisted by two city bond issues and multiple state and federal grants, the city now has assembled almost all of the site’s original 44 acres. This unusual historical park represents the vision of Alessio Carraro for a resort castle in the desert, complete with castle, basement tunnels, dense cactus gardens, putting green, concrete walls, dovecote, well house, gas station, machine shop and much more.
In 2000, the City drafted a Master Plan that was then adopted by the City Council in 2003. Hikes, historic garden walks, guided Castle tours, social functions - all are proposed uses that would transform the Castle and surrounding gardens into a world-class park and historical attraction. To see a graphic layout of proposed park amenities, review the master plan map.
Caption: The beautiful stencil work is still vibrant on the support pillars and around the tops of the walls in the main living area.
Full Master Plan Report (PDF 1.3MB)
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights
The restored Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is open for guided tours of the first floor and basement. The first floor with wooden floors and unique plaster finishes, and basement with its tunnels leading to the gardens and unique ceiling texture, also feature interpretive historical exhibits telling the stories of the people involved with this unique Phoenix Landmark, its construction, and restoration. Access to the building's upper stories is restricted due to structural, building code, and accessibility issues. Tour can be booked online at Tovreacastletours.com.
The area surrounding the Castle contains the historic cactus gardens, completed in 1929. While the city of Phoenix started restoration of these gardens in 2000, workers need to expand these efforts and plant more cactuses.
Machine Shop and other historic buildings
Plans call for restoration of a historic metal machine shop and several other historic outbuildings, including a gas station, a well house, two wood frame houses, a bird aviary and a dovecote.
A small visitor center and orientation area along East Van Buren Street would greet visitors. The building would include a park office, a reception area with tourist information, a small auditorium and an outdoor courtyard. The visitor center would allow for a wide variety of activities at the site while reducing the impact on the fragile Castle.
Interpretative Theme Wall/Walkway
A critical pedestrian linkage from the visitor center to the Castle would curve through the natural desert landscape. Along the way, visitors could learn about the site's history from a theme wall with interpretative signs and demonstration gardens. The theme wall's interpretive signage would be made from specially designed copper plate.