Built in 1881 in Catalonia, Spain, Parc Samà was the summer residence of Salvador Samà I Torrents, Marquis of Marianao. The Marquis belonged to a Latin-American family who had settled in Cuba and who wanted to bring the atmosphere of the old colony to this area of Spain. The resulting park is considered one of the best examples of romantic gardening in the Mediterranean, an enchanting combination of botanical garden, zoo, and native forest.
The architect of Parc Samà was greatly influenced by the famous Antoni Gaudi, who is said to have designed at least two of the amazing follies in the garden. There are long rows of plane trees, mandarin trees, limes, horse chestnuts, water lilies, palms and yuccas, among other plant species. Before the Spanish Civil War, the park even hosted animals from the Marquis’ private zoo, which were exhibited in several enclosures and cages that can still be seen.
Just as important as the beautiful flora are the park’s amazing architectural elements. The most notable are the palace (unfortunately you cannot enter at the moment), the lake and waterfall, the shell fountain, the Pavelló dels Lloros (Pavilion of the Parrots), and the Torre de l’Angle (the Angular Tower).
During the Spanish Civil War, the park was taken over for military purposes by the Republican side, which used it as a training camp and later a hospital. You can still see the wartime kitchen building from that era. The park was reopened to the public in 2016 and is still developing. Hopefully one day we will be able to visit the palace itself.
Know Before You Go
Normal entry price is 8 euros(May 2018). Well worth it. Free parking.