Tovrea Castle
Tovrea Castle is a historic structure and landmark in Phoenix, Arizona. Originally intended as a centerpiece for a resort and later a private residence, the castle is now part of the Phoenix parks system and is designated as one of the Phoenix Points of Pride. Plans were to fully open the site to the public in 2009, but cost overruns have delayed the opening.

History
Construction on the Tovrea Castle began in 1928 after 277 acres (112 hectares) of undeveloped desert land was purchased by Italian immigrant and businessman Alessio Carraro. Carraro had envisioned the site as an exclusive resort surrounded by desert vegetation, being then outside the city limits of Phoenix. To that end the property was landscaped under the direction of a Russian gardener named Moktachev, transforming the largely barren land into a spectacular desert garden. The castle itself was built during the period from 1928-1930. Carraro imagined the three-tiered castle as the centerpiece for his resort. Shortly after completion of the structure, however, adjoining landowners began building livestock pens to supply cattle and sheep to a nearby meat packing plant owned by Edward Tovrea. Discouraged by this change, Carraro abandoned his plans to build a resort and sold the property to Tovrea and his wife, Della in 1931. Edward died the following year, and Della retained the structure as her primary residence. The castle became a winter home following her marriage to William Stuart in 1936. After she was widowed again in 1960, Della again took up permanent residence in the castle until her own death in 1969. After Della's death, the family trust assumed control of the property but did nothing to maintain it, and it entered into an extended period of decline. The once impressive desert garden suffered the worst impact, with all but the hardiest of the cacti perishing due to neglect. The castle was abandoned and itself fell into a state of disrepair. The castle was acquired by the City of Phoenix in 1993 with the intent to preserve the historic structure. Over the next several years the city purchased additional land adjaceant to the site, and by 2003 had set aside a space of just over 43 acres (17 hectares) for restoration and preservation. Tovrea Castle was listed on City Historic Property Registry in 1990 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Tovrea Castle and Carraro Cactus Garden
Although the castle had long been recognized as a city landmark, the deteriorated state of the grounds and the building left it unsuitable for use as a city park. After finalizing the purchase of surrounding properties, the city of Phoenix began an effort to restore the building and revitalize the gardens. In 2006, significant work was begun on restoring the gardens surrounding the castle to their previous state. Several diseased and dead plants were removed from the site while surviving vegetation was rehabilitated. During restoration efforts, 352 saguaro cacti were planted on the site and over 2,000 other cacti were relocated. Other vegetation, including desert wildflowers were planted in the gardens. Currently the park boasts over 5,000 individual cacti in over 100 different varieties. Dubbed the Carraro Cactus Garden in honor of the original planner, the outdoors element of the park was recently opened to the public for limited tours. An interprative trail exhibitioning the gardens and the many desert species there, as well as a greenhouse, is planned for the park. Phoenix anticipates final completion of the project sometime by 2010, at which point it will be fully opened to the public.

Castle characteristics
The Tovrea Castle is a wood and stucco building constructed in a unique three-tier fashion bearing a strong resemblance to a traditional wedding cake, and as such has earned it the local nickname "The Wedding Cake". The castle is rococo in style, mimicking Italian architecture from Carraro's home country. The Castle is highly visible from surrounding areas, and in particular drivers on Loop 202 are offered an excellent view of the site. This has led to the castle becoming one of the most prominent landmarks of the city.