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Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights - the Wedding Cake Castle

5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA

Iconic Buildings
Botanical Gardens

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About Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is a historic landmark in Phoenix, Arizona. The castle was built in the early 1900s by Alessio Carraro. It was inspired by the architecture of his homeplace in Italy and the castle was originally designed to be a hotel centrepiece of a planned resort. But it became a private residence soon after its construction in 1931. The castle sits atop a hill in the middle of a barren desert and is surrounded by cacti gardens.

Things to Do at Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is a historic landmark in Arizona. One of the most popular things to do is to take a tour of the castle, which offers a unique perspective on the history of the area. Visitors can also explore the surrounding grounds which are home to over 5000 cactus plants of over 100 different varieties. Tovrea Castle is also a popular venue for weddings and other special events.

The castle is located on a hill overlooking the city of Phoenix. It is lit at night with LED bulbs distributed along its roofs and fences. From a distance, this appears to give an impression of a romanticized medieval castle despite lacking any of those characteristics.

The castle is made of granite, pinewood and stucco in a four-tiered fashion that resembles strongly to a wedding cake. It has romanticized European architectural influences which include parapets surronding the roofline of each tier, and Art Deco in its interior and exterior light fixtures.

History of Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights was built between 1928 and 1930 and intended to be part of a resort complex. Soon after its completion, it was bought by E.A. and Della Tovrea in 1931 to use as a private residence. The name of the castle- Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is reflected to honour its original builder Alessio Carraro and its second owner E. A. and Della Tovrea.

The castle is now part of the Phoenix Parks System and is one of the designated Phoenix Points of Pride. The castle was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

In 2006, significant work was carried out on the castle and its gardens to restore the castle to its previous state and to open it to the public. The works were completed in 2012 and the castle was finally opened to the public. It is managed by the Tovrea Carraro Society, a non-profit organization formed to operate the site in partnership with the City of Phoenix.

Best Time to Visit Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

The best time to visit Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is in the spring. The castle is located in the desert, so the weather is warm but not too hot. The flowers are in bloom, and the cacti are starting to grow. The views from the top of the castle are stunning, and you can see for miles.

Tips for Visiting Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

  1. Purchase your tickets in advance. While same-day tickets are sometimes available, they often sell out well in advance. Interested visitors should enrol on a lottery ticket system to have a chance to purchase tickets.
  2. Wear comfortable shoes. The castle is surrounded by cacti and there is a lot of walking involved, so comfortable shoes are a must.
  3. Be prepared for hot weather as there is little shade at the castle.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

  1. Locally, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is known as the "Wedding Cake Castle" due to its shape.
  2. The castle is one of the most prominent landmarks of Phoenix city and is highly visible from the surrounding areas.
  3. A common legend in the local area is that the castle was built by E. A. Tovrea for his wife as a duplication of their wedding cake which is wrong. The castle was actually built by Alessio Carraro and was purchased by  E. A. Tovrea.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

The average time spent touring the grounds is 2 hours. During the tour, visitors will learn about the history of the castle and its owner, and walk around the cactus gardens. They will also get to see the inside of the main building, which has been restored to its original grandeur.

How to Reach Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights is located close to the Phoenix city centre. From the city centre, it is only a 10-kilometer, 15-minute drive to the castle. Some buses also go to the castle area from the city centre.

Entrance Fee of Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

It costs USD 22 to enter Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights. However, due to overwhelming demand, the ticket can be purchased only through a lottery ticket system that visitors should enrol. You can get more details from their website.

In addition to individual tickets, there are also group tickets available for which the price depends on the type of tour and the number of visitors.

Opening Hours of Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

The castle has an odd opening hours structure. On Thursdays, it is open from 9 AM to 12 PM. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays it is open from  7.30 AM to 12.30 PM and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

Even during the days, it is open, the entry is strict for the ticket holders and tours are conducted at limited intervals.

Attractions Near Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Pueblo Grande Museum
Pueblo Grande Museum1.18km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Pueblo Grande Ruin and Irrigation Sites are pre-Columbian archaeological sites and ruins, located in Phoenix, Arizona. They include a prehistoric platform mound and irrigation canals. The City of Phoenix manages these resources as the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park. It features a large platform mound with retaining walls. This massive structure contains over 20,000 cubic meters of fill. There were also many dwellings, and at least three ball courts and more.

Papago Park
Papago Park1.89km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

This is a municipal park in the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona, United States. It has been designated as a Phoenix Point of Pride. It includes Hunt's Tomb, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is a hilly desert park covering 1200 acres in its Phoenix extent and 296 acres in its Tempe extent.

Hall of Flame Fire Museum
Hall of Flame Fire Museum1.89km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

The National Historical Fire Foundation is a museum dedicated to the historical preservation of firefighting equipment used throughout the years around the world. Its artifacts were originally the private collection of George F. Getz Jr which has five large exhibit galleries.

Phoenix Zoo
Phoenix Zoo2.34km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

The Phoenix Zoo opened in 1962 and is the largest privately owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. It was located in Phoenix, Arizona which has over 1,400 animals on display and contains 2.5 miles of walking trails and so more to see. It was one of the favourite tourist spot in Arizona.

Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Botanical Garden3.02km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Desert Botanical Garden is a 140-acre botanical garden located in Papago Park, at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix, central Arizona. Founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937 and established at this site in 1939, the garden now has more than 50,000 plants, in more than 4,000 taxa, one-third of which are native to the area, including 379 species, which are rare, threatened or endangered.

Tempe Town Lake
Tempe Town Lake4.72km from Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tempe Town Lake is an artificial perennial reservoir located just north of Tempe Butte at the confluence of the intermittent Salt River and the ephemeral Indian Bend Wash in Tempe, Arizona. The reservoir receives much of its water from the Colorado River via the Central Arizona Project. On July 20, 2010, a portion of the west side of the dam that contained the water in the lake collapsed sending a flood of water into the Salt River, draining the lake.

Where is Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Discover More Attractions in Maricopa County, Where Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights Is Located

Maricopa County
Maricopa County
28 attractions

Maricopa County is located in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. It is more populous than 23 states. The county seat is Phoenix the state capital and fifth-most populous city in the United States. It is one of the beautiful places in the Arizona state.