In the Horta-Guinardó district of Barcelona next to the Collserola ridge, lies the green jewel of the district, the oldest garden of the city, Parc del Laberint d’Horta. The garden is located on the estate of a former marquis family, the Desvalls, and is composed of an 18th-century neoclassical garden and a 19th-century romantic garden.
Construction began in 1791 when the owner, Joan Antoni Desvalls i d’Ardena, and an Italian architect, Domenico Bagutti, created the design for the neoclassical garden.This garden has three terraces: a lower terrace with a 750-metre hedge maze of trimmed cypress trees; an intermediate terrace with two Italian-style pavilions with Tuscan columns and statues of Greek mythological characters Danaë and Ariadne; and an upper terrace with a pavilion dedicated to the nine muses. The overall theme of the neoclassical garden is love and the hedge maze labyrinth gives the park its name.
In the mid 19th-century, the Desvalls family hired Elies Rogent to expand the garden. Rogent created the romantic garden adding flower beds, gazebos, a waterfall and small squares all under the shade of massive trees. The overall theme of the romantic garden is death as there used to be a small cemetery.
In 1967 the Desvalls family gave the city of Barcelona ownership of the park and it was opened to the public in 1971. The former home of the family –Torre Soberana, a 14th-century country house –is now an institute of gardening education with a specialized library.
Parc del Laberint d’Horta is a 9.1-hectare peaceful garden museum full of mythological sculptures hidden in every corner and beautiful Mediterranian forestry and flowers.