Travel Phoenix, AZ

Share On:

Tovrea Castle


Tovrea Castle, also known as the “Wedding Cake,” is a historic structure and landmark in Phoenix, Arizona. This distinctive, four-tiered building is surrounded by the Tovrea Carraro Society’s 44-acre desert preserve, making it an intriguing blend of history, architecture, and nature in the heart of a bustling city.

The castle was built between 1928 and 1930 by Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro, who intended to create a resort hotel and residential development. However, the Great Depression and other factors led Carraro to sell the property to meatpacking baron Edward A. Tovrea. It was Tovrea’s wife, Della, who lived in the castle until her death in 1969. The city of Phoenix purchased the castle and surrounding acreage in 1993 and has been working to restore and maintain it since then.


Tovrea Castle is located at:

5041 E Van Buren St,
Phoenix, AZ 85008,
United States


For more information about Tovrea Castle, its history, tours, and events, please visit the official website:

Opening Hours

Tovrea Castle is open for scheduled tours only. The tours are typically available on select weekends and must be booked in advance due to the limited availability. It’s recommended to check the castle’s official website for the most accurate and up-to-date tour schedule.

Things to do

Visiting Tovrea Castle is a journey into the rich history and unique architecture of Phoenix. Here’s what you can expect:

1. Guided Tours: Tours of Tovrea Castle take you through the extensive cactus gardens and around the castle grounds, providing insights into the history of the castle and its owners.

2. Cactus Garden: The castle is surrounded by a 44-acre desert preserve with over 5,000 individual cacti. The Carraro Cactus Garden is a must-see for anyone interested in desert flora.

3. Photography: The castle, with its distinctive tiers and beautiful surroundings, is an excellent location for photography.

4. Wildlife Viewing: The castle’s grounds are home to various desert wildlife, including quails, rabbits, and occasionally coyotes.

5. Special Events: The castle occasionally hosts special events, such as holiday lights displays, which are announced on their official website.

Please note that the castle’s interior is not currently open to the public, but there are plans for this in the future.


Tovrea Castle was the brainchild of Italian immigrant Alessio Carraro, who had a vision to build a desert resort and high-end housing development in the area. The castle was intended to be the centerpiece of this ambitious project. The castle’s unique, tiered design, reminiscent of a wedding cake, was a departure from the typical architectural styles of the time, adding to its allure.

Carraro’s dream was short-lived, however. Due to the onset of the Great Depression and disputes with neighboring cattle farmer Edward Tovrea, Carraro sold the castle and its surrounding property to Tovrea in 1932, just a few years after its completion.

Edward Tovrea passed away shortly after, and his widow, Della Tovrea, lived in the castle until her death in 1969. The castle stood largely unoccupied for many years thereafter, its future uncertain.

In 1993, the City of Phoenix acquired the castle and its surrounding land with a vision to restore and preserve this unique landmark. Since then, significant restoration work has been undertaken to maintain the castle and develop the surrounding cactus gardens.

Cactus Gardens and Desert Preserve

The Tovrea Carraro Society has put significant effort into maintaining and restoring the Carraro Cactus Garden that surrounds the castle. This garden now spans 44 acres and contains over 5,000 individual cacti across numerous species. A tour of the garden offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the beauty and diversity of desert flora.

Tours and Education

Tours of Tovrea Castle offer a fascinating look into the history of Phoenix and the lives of the castle’s former inhabitants. These tours are not just about the castle itself but also about the rich history of the surrounding area. The tour guides are knowledgeable and passionate, offering valuable insights into the castle’s history, architecture, and the flora and fauna of the surrounding desert preserve.

Future Plans

While the castle’s interior is not currently open to the public, plans are underway to allow public access in the future. The Tovrea Carraro Society and the City of Phoenix continue their restoration efforts, with the goal of fully preserving this unique landmark for future generations to appreciate.

Tovrea Castle is a testament to the dreams and ambitions of its original builder, a symbol of Phoenix’s rich history, and a unique sanctuary of desert flora and fauna in the heart of a bustling city. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *