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Bertone Park

The park of the storks

In the territory of the municipality of Goito there is the Bertone Park, a small woody area (a total amount of 7 hectares) where the original forest of the Po valley and a romantic forest-garden of the 19th century live together. Its origins date back to the ancient centuries, but it had a period of magnificence with the D'Arco's family, which made it its summer dwelling and built the villa with the stables and the guest rooms, which today still overlook the forest's widest clearing.

The passion for botanics of the count Luigi D'Arco, a naturalist and passionate botanist, is proved by the presence of centuries-old plants from all over the world: in particular an eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) more than 270 years of age, the majestic gingko more than 200 years of age and 40 meters high, which stands out against the middle of a clearing by the lake shore, the southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) and some specimens of horse-chestnut (Aesculus hyppocastanum).

After the passing away in 1973 of the last heir of the D'Arco's family, the marchioness Giovanna,  the Park and all the goods belonging to the family became property of the D'Arco foundation. After more than ten years of neglect, the foundation entrusted the Mincio Park with the management of Bosco Bertone: the Park restored the wood and opened it to the public, enhancing its didactic and recreational function, turning the Bertone into the Park's Visitor Center. The rooms of the small palace and of the ancient stables have been restored and equipped with an audiovisual room and with a Recreational room and Nature Library at visitors' disposal. In the city of Mantua there is the noble dwelling of the House of D'Arco.

Since 1994 the Bertone Wood houses the Center for the Reintroduction of the white stork. The project - realized in close collaboration with the Swiss White Stork Society of Altreu (Switzerland) within the programs of the International White Stork Working Group-Western Population - was launched with the aim to create a stable unit of nesting storks. The first 12 storks came from Switzerland in March 1994, and in 1996 the first nestlings were born in the White Stork Reintroduction Center of the Bertone Park. In order to make these animals establish a bond with the territory even after migration, the storks which were born in the center are released only after the first nesting. Since 1997, year of the first releases, the sighting of the released storks flying around the Bertone Park and in the other areas near Mantua has become usual: a proof of the positive progresses and of an environment characterized by ideal features for the survival of the species.
White storks at the Bertone Park
(foto di Archivio Parco Mincio)
Storks in the Bertone Park
(foto di Archivio Parco Mincio)
Italy's highest Ginkgo is found in the Bertone Park
(foto di Archivio Parco Mincio)
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