The Angiolina Park

Opatija's central garden, Angiolina, surfacing 2.7 ha, was declared a protected monument of park architecture in 1968. The garden is positioned in the most elite stripe of the town, which encompasses the stretch between Marshall Tito's Street and the sea. The coastal promenade of Franz Joseph I extends through the park, thus connecting the Liburnian coastal municipalities from Volosko to Lovran. The creation of the park is closely related to the construction of Villa Angiolina in 1844. It is believed that the main model to the unknown designer was the Venetian architect from the 16th century, Andrea Palladio (1508 - 1580), since there is a discernible and infallible sense for harmonious fitting of the construction into the ambiance, understanding of ideal proportions (the so-called golden ratio) and usage of antique construction forms.

The villa was a place where business was done and high-profiled guests were entertained. Due to the hospitality of the owner, the patrician pair Scarpa, the villa became a focus of high society's social life. The family nurtured and developed the garden on the estate. Plants came in as presents “from all over the world”, but also from their own seminary which exists even today and is situated within the edifice of the Museum of Tourism.

Rare plant species were sown in the period from 1845 to 1860, and from 1867 until 1871 they were nurtured by Franz Senekowitsch, a gardener from Rijeka. In 1882 the estate became an ownership of the Association of Southern Railways. Within their project of construction of a winter seaside sanatorium, the old park was reconstructed and new parts were planted. The reconstruction and the expansion of the park were conceptualised by Carl Schubert, the Director of Vienna's Tsarist-Royal Society for Construction of Parks. The green floor in front of the villa is complemented with flower-beds accentuating the palms. Thus, from 1883 to 1886, the part of the park in front of Villa Angiolina, the Kvarner Hotel and the Imperial Hotel was created. A garden developed, subsequently divided into 60 fields incorporating some 150 plant species.

According to the last inventory of plants from 2006, there are 124 plant species in the park, among which Ginkgo biloba, Libocedrus decurrens (Californian cedar), Musa Basjoo (Japanese banana), Sequoia gigantea (giant sequoia) and many others. The basis of the garden is a laurel grove, and one of the most famous fields in the park stands out with its camellias.

In the bygone 1937 the garden was fitted with an irrigation system and a precipitation water drainage system. The concept and the shape of the park have remained the same ever since its foundation. The garden bears the stylistic traits of historicism – the music pavilion, the group of stalagmites, the Swiss house “Museum of Tourism”, Villa Angiolina, and topiary shaping of low shrubbery with flower decor.

Quite telling are the exotic plants which provide a mark of exclusivity as well as the web of pathways leading through autochthonous laurel groves. The central edifice is Villa Angiolina, constructed in neo-classicist style and in the Adriatic Biedermeier style, observing both the principles of modules and the one of the so-called golden ratio. In the swing of its development, a meteorological station was installed, with climatic indices meant to confirm the basic intent of the town as a sanatorium.