Leave behind the rush and noise of today’s world, and take a step back in time to a more peaceful era, in the natural beauty of Trsteno and its Arboretum. It is a place of natural beauty, where the cool greens of antique Renaissance gardens meet the deep blue of the Adriatic Sea, leaving a sense of peace and tranquillity.
Neighbours speak highly of me, yet I please more
With the waters, the mild climate
And the zeal of my demanding master.
Behold, visitor, for these are the safe tracks
Of man, artistry perfecting the wild nature.
Trsteno 1502. (Latin verses inscribed in a rock by the Gučetić-Gozze summer villa)
Trsteno is an old fishermen's village situated north-west of Dubrovnik with a long tradition in seafaring, and one of the oldest and most beautiful Arboretums in the wide region. Construction of the Arboretum started in 1494, when Ivan Marinov, one of the members of Dubrovnik’s patrician family Gučetić-Gozze erected a summer residence and laid out a garden, asking Dubrovnik’s captains and seafarers to collect seeds from all foreign destinations they travelled to.
A notable characteristic of the Arboretum is the role that architecture plays throughout the space. It seems that the Gučetić-Gozze family did not simply build a summer villa in the middle of their gardens. Rather, the entire Arboretum was carefully planned, and every detail, whether architectural or botanical, was designed to shape their visitors’ experience of the space.
Set on a cliff overlooking the Adriatic, the Arboretum covers 28 ha (70 acres) while integrating several different units: the historical Renaissance garden surrounding the ancient summer villa, a Baroque fountain and the graceful arches of a stone aqueduct, an historic olive grove, as well as natural vegetation like downy oak, Aleppo pine and Mediterranean cypress woods, and over 465 types of plants from Mediterranean, Europe and Asia.
Pay special attention to:
The first thing you notice when you come to Trsteno, are two huge plane trees (Platanus orientalis) that grow beside the main road at the small square in the centre of the village. These magnificent trees have been a part of Dubrovnik history for more than 500 years and are unique specimens of their kind in continental Europe. Their trunk is over 15 meters wide and around 50 meters tall. Because of its size and longevity, it almost takes ten people to encircle the tree. One can be sure that many poets have mediated here in the shade of these giant plane trees.
Baroque Neptune fountain
Take a stroll through the garden and look for the famous fountain from the 14th century, supplied with water by a 70 meter long aqueduct of14 arches. In 1736, the original Renaissance fountain was reshaped into a luxurious baroque nymphaeum with Neptune, the god of the sea, all waters and earthquakes, as the central figure of the composition. Neptune’s fountain is guarded by two nymphs, one of whom, the tale says, might have been a forest nymph who successfully protected the Arboretum from two of the most horrific evils –war and fire.
Did you know:
Arboretum Trsteno is also known as a major filming location of the 3rd and 4th seasons of the blockbuster HBO series “Game of Thrones.”
If you would like to visit the Trsteno Arboretum, for more information please contact your concierge.
Daily opening times of the Arboretum:
May to October: from 7:00 to 19:00 | November to April: from 8:00 to 15:00
and if you would like to read more check out the ALH Times (page 38).