Witnesses of Dubrovnik's glorious aristocratic past
The Secret World of Dubrovnik's Villas
The golden times of the aristocratic past of the Republic of Dubrovnik are long gone. And as the centuries went by, the beauty of their villas and palaces started to fade. However, villa culture of the nobility still exists and villas, with their walled gardens, are still a prominent feature of the Dubrovnik landscape. Some of them are owned by institutions, whilst some are in private hands. We bring you the enlightening examples of our family-owned villas in which you can still experience the semi-hidden world of Dubrovnik’s aristocratic villas.
Villa ORTI ... a walled paradise in touching distance of the Dubrovnik city walls
This wonderful villa is located in one of the most traditional parts of Dubrovnik, within a stone’s throw of the iconic city walls. The area is known as the „Historical Gardens” and it is no surprise that the Villa takes its name from „orto” – the Italian name for a vegetable garden. The green hills that soar around the city walls were home to the fruit and vegetable gardens of the citizens of the Republic of Dubrovnik. To protect the crops they surrounded the gardens with walls, and inside these estates, they started initially to build modest buildings. As the life outside of the city walls became safer, these modest buildings turned into real houses and from houses, they gradually grow into luxurious residences – villas. Even though Villa Orti was completely restored, the features and heritage of the original property has been lovingly preserved. The residence has a traditional layout with one central room surrounded by four smaller rooms. Immersed in terraced gardens and steep slopes, it offers the most beautiful viewpoints. Surrounded on all sides by high stone walls, this walled paradise offers complete peace and privacy, as it did centuries ago.
VILLA ELLA ... an authentic Dalmatian countryside villa
Villa Ella is tucked away in rich nature on the beautiful island setting of the Elaphiti Archipelago, after which it takes its name. Its foundations go back to 19th century when the idyllic hamlet of Frajga was still full of life and vigour. The villa enjoys an elevated position on southern slopes and this fertile hillside once embraced the family’s fruit orchards, vineyards and olive groves. As a reminiscence of the walled gardens of the Renaissance, there are the remains of the stone walls, as well as stone benches. Even though the villa has breathtaking views over the sea, it didn’t only serve as a haven for leisure, it also had an economic role. During the 19th century, it brought an income to its owners’ thanks to the large number of carob trees. With its elevated position this area was a favourite spot for countryside villas from where the landowners could supervise the works in the fields. This stunning island setting was also the perfect environment for family life where families could live in harmony with nature and each other.
VILLA GHETALDI 1516 ... a noblemen's villa from the 16th century
This Renaissance villa has a special place in the history of the Republic of Dubrovnik since it is the oldest preserved villa from that time. It belonged to the famous noble family of Getaldić whose members were bishops, rectors, writers, and scientists. (The most famous of them was Marin Getaldić, the world-known physicist and astrologer.) It is then no surprise that this villa was created according to the most advanced knowledge of that time. The villa and its garden were designed by astrological laws that follow the patterns of the stars and the Sun. Consequently, a special microclimate was created in the garden. In the summer the temperature is always a few degrees lower, while in winter it is always a few degrees higher than in the surrounding area. This enabled the growth of luxurious gardens in which the villa is immersed and the whole estate is surrounded by high Renaissance walls.
The Golden Ratio
The owner and stonemasons also took care of one other important principle of the Renaissance – the Golden Ratio or the Divine Proportion. The estate Ghetaldi 1516 was built by Golden Ratio that presents perfect beauty and harmony. The villa has a traditional layout with one central room surrounded by four smaller rooms. This central room was called „saloča” and it was the centre of family and social life. The ground floor was the domain for doing business, while the first floor had a residential purpose. As a reminder of its glorious past, the year 1516 still stands proudly carved in stone. In the garden, one can still walk the shaded pathways covered by five centuries-old pergolas, and draw the water from the old well. From the view on the stone handrails and nearby watchtowers to defend against pirates, one could get the impression that in this beautiful villa time has stopped.
Timeless beauties ... luxury in past and present
The centuries may pass, but human needs will always remain the same. Humans have always been social beings that sought a life in harmony with nature and with each other. To accomplish that they needed both the indoor as well as outdoor space. In our authentic villas, you will have more than enough space to spend quality time with your loved ones. You can enjoy fresh air on the terraces with breathtaking views, while the high stone walls will guarantee you complete relaxation and privacy. Our villas are witnesses that Dubrovnik’s once-great villa culture is still alive and well! Here you can still feel the spirit of the past while enjoying all the benefits of contemporary life.