Last update 19 May 2023

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The bricel park

The origins of the park's name

From the beginning of the 19th century up to the early 60's, there is no doubt Bricel was the actual protagonist in local economy, which consisted of varied river - Po related activities, being professional fishing the most remarkable among these. According to historical documents referring to the end of the 19th century, this area catch was sold in Turin, at Porta Palazzo fish market. However, numerous occupations taking place across the river, as noteworthy as fishing, are to be mentioned in order to portray faithfully last century economical background: people and goods ferrying (really necessary before 1858 - when the masonry bridge was built - as well as in periods when it couldn't work owing to its partial or whole falling down), sand extraction ("sabiunè" is a dialect term to define workers whose job was just sand drawing out), and Cavour Canal intake building and maintenance.
According to Piedmontese - Italian dictionary by M. Ponza da Cavour (Turin 1830), the term "bricel", meaning small boat, was considered the most suitable one to represent such area included between Chivasso bridge and Cavour Canal intake, with its economical features as well.
Bricel indeed is a small wooden craft which might be found along the Po banks in different shapes, though each of them shares the same specific elements: stem and stern were both symmetrical, flat keel (a unique tapered plane) and spritsail, which was used during descents along the river. In upriver climbing, instead, the heaviest crafts were pulled from both riversides through tow - ropes, draft horses and draught - oxen.

Some data concerning the park

It occupies a 11.12 acre surface (484,38 square feet).
The expense of 250,000 euros was financed by the Town of Chivasso with Piedmont's regional support.

The bridge across the Po

The first masonry bridge with nine arcades, was built approximately in 1860 in the same place where the current one is situated, thus assuring connection and stable relations between Chivasso and its hill municipalities until April 1945, when German troops in retreat destroyed two arcades.
Once brought back into use, a year later, it had been assuring for many years the strategic connexion to the numerous hill municipalities until 4th and 5th November 1994 tragic flood, when the bridge collapsed under the fury of the river.
Since May 1997 the reinforced concrete new bridge has been working. It was built through the latest and most updated standards and consists of only three arcades of remarkable dimensions, so that it can make it possible waters best downflow.
When the connection was interrupted, river ferries were indeed employed in order to reduce discomforts for anyone who had to cross the river for their everyday needs.
Ferries, pontoon bridges, and summer fords had been representing for centuries, before 1860, the precarious and expensive way which hills inhabitants joined Chivasso relevant market through.
In order to get to the passing on the barges operating before 1858, for instance, Castagneto Po citizens used to pay 33 liras a year for foot crossing and just the double for ox cart. The proposal for the first masonry bridge by Kingdom General Intendant in 1855, was contained in a letter where he asked for a financial commitment to the boroughs involved in the project.
After such local villages had overcome many troubles for financial resources finding, in 1858 they nearly had their first bridge completed. So Castagneto Po Town Council on 8th May session could deliberate as follows: "confiding in the bridge across the Po is said to be concluded by this time, the town of Castagneto turns out to be so near the city of Chivasso that anyone, even who left from the town's farthest places, takes less than one hour to get conveniently to that commercial centre by crossing the river on the large carriage road called strada del Palazzo (Palace road). Castagneto population has many commercial routine relations with Chivasso, firstly because of the latter's commercial vocation, then because the latter represents the easiest and the most advantaging way to sell off the former's harvest and its industrial products, thus providing for all we need..."

Flora and fauna

Flora: The park species are the traditional piedmontese riparian ones (plains and riparian fauna) because the aim was to recreate flora in harmony with surrounding places. Some non - autochthonous decorative shrubs were planted in order to make coloured spots in fitting areas.
Trees: country maple, planed maple, hornbeam, wood cherry, ash, mulberry, white poplar and cypress poplar, British oak. Moreover, there are three pre - existing plans, a cherry and a white poplar, too.
Autochthonous shrubs: hawthorn, European euonymus, broom, hazel, black alder, sloe and salicone.

Faunal oasis: a 69,97 square feet fenced in area, where people are not allowed to enter in order to encourage riparian birds nest - building without any human interference. 60 titmice and 5 bats nests were set up. The quarry duty lodge was kept therein, with its partially walled up windows, in order to shelter night birds.
Avifaunal observation hide: it consists of three shielding walls and four slits for river birds watching, such as ducks, ardeidi and raptors which usually settle at the intake surroundings.


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