“a wedding cake castle”
To this day, the unusual looking structure sitting atop the knoll near what is now East Van Buren and 52nd Street, remains a curiosity to Valley residents and passersby. Resembling a wedding cake or castle, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights has a rich and interesting history – a history that began with the vision of one man, Alessio Carraro. Born in Italy, Alessio came to the United States and built a fortune in the sheet metal business in San Francisco, California. With modest beginnings as a shoe cobbler, Alessio became a successful land developer, gold miner and developed a prowess as a Water Witch.In 1928, Alessio moved to Arizona with dreams of developing the desert just east of Phoenix into a resort destination and housing subdivision known as Carraro Heights. The centerpiece of his vision was a hotel, which is the main structure we see today. The building’s design and the surrounding gardens are the result of Alessio’s vision. Alessio, with his son Leo, oversaw the fourteen-month project which was completed in 1930.Alessio’s dreams were short-lived however, as the hotel and a portion of the property were sold in 1932. Some speculate the nearby meat packing plant was to blame for dashing Alessio’s dream. Others surmise the timing of his venture, which paralleled the Great Depression, created financial stresses. Nonetheless, the “vision” remains today for all to enjoy and wonder about.Alessio eventually moved to Yarnell, where he envisioned a tourist attraction full of imaginary animals, trails and a tiny castle built by hand on top of a hill. Today, his vision in Yarnell is known as Carraro’s Grotto, which is privately owned. Alessio Carraro died in 1964, but his visions and imagination live on.
This place was closed even though it was during hours it said it would be open. I'm not sure what happened, but you may want to call ahead of time before attending this attraction. They gate off the property so when its closed you cant even get close.
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- Sun, Fri, Sat: 8:30 am - 11:00 am
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