Set in the district of Horta-Guinardó, nestling on the side of Collserola mountain, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta is the oldest park in Barcelona.
The estate was once the property of the Desvalls family, who began construction on the palace and its park in 1794. The first phase was finished in 1808, under the orders of Italian architect, Domenico Bagutti. The park includes an 18th century Neoclassical garden and a Romantic garden dating from the 19th century.
The estate remained in the hands of the Desvalls family until the 1970s, when it became the property of Barcelona City Hall. The park was finally opened to the public in 1971, and in 1994 it underwent a thorough restoration.
The park is divided into two gardens: the first is Neoclassical with references to the theme of love and a second has a Romantic style which centres around the subject of death.
On the lower terrace we find the labyrinth or maze, which gives the park its name, made up of 750 metres of clipped Cyprus trees in the shape of a box hedge. At the entrance to the maze is a marble frieze depicting Ariadne and Theseus; in the centre of the maze is a statue of Eros and at the exit is the Grotto of Echo and Narcissus. Near the maze is the Moss Garden, containing a grotto in the shape of the head of the Minotaur, with a jet of water.
On the middle terrace is the Mirador, or viewpoint, with two Italian-style ornamental temples. And next to these are two ornately engraved water fountains. Next to the steps leading up to the top of the park is a bust of Dionysius, god of wine and revelry.
On the top terrace is the Pavilion of Carlos IV, which is Neoclassical and Italian in style, and slightly evocative of Palladio’s Villa Capra. It is crowned by a sculpture of Apollo and the Muses along with two friezes, one dedicated to the arts and sciences and the other to war and peace.
The landscaped area of this stunning park is surrounded by a large Mediterranean forest.