30 May 2016

What to see as you walk around Opatija (Abbazia)

A weekend on the look out for beauty!

Here I am, in the town that is often called “The pearl of the Adriatic”, in the region of Litoraneo- montana: the lovely Abbazia.

As soon as I get here I head off to discover this lovely town, and I walk across a lovely park just behind the Hotel Bevanda where I’m staying.

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The Park is home to the beautiful Villa Angiolina, a landmark for the beginning of the tourist development in Abbazia. Before the construction of the building in 1844 (it was built on the foundations of an older building, property of the baron Haller von Hallerstein). Abbazia was a small settlement with about 120 houses, mostly grouped away from the sea and the coast.

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The village thrived mostly on fishing and sailing activity. In fact, from the park you reach a small port that faces onto the bay where you can see the beautiful wooden boats of the legendary barcaroli.

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Initially the barcaroli used to work only for the transport of goods, and then they slowly started passenger transport, first with rowboats and then with motorboats. Still today they offer you a transport service up and down the coastline and around the islands with “taxi boats”, an evolution of the Abbazia traditions.

As I walk around the park I notice a long wall, with woderfull wall paintings by Anja Ferencic ’11 that paints portraits with a wonderful technique, but with a collection I don’t fully understand because the depicts Louis Lumiere and Gustav Mahler, Robert De Niro, Zucchero, Fornaciari and then I even notice James Joyce and his majesty, the emperor Franz Joseph!

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After meeting Franz, I decide to go for a walk along the seafront that goes from Volosko to Lovran, named after the emperor Francesco Giuseppe I. This wonderful route was built in the golden age of Opatija, as a place for therapy: the northern part, from Volosko to Opatija, was completed in 1889, the year in which Opatija was declared a location for climatic therapy.

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The southern part, that connects Opatija to Lovran, was completed in 1911.

Every corner is a stop, the camera on my phone is constantly at work, a snapshot every few steps, first looking forward then turning around so I don’t miss the scenery behind me - hidden beauty everywhere.

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What most impressed me about Opatij were the buildings, a constant architectural show, large and strong, a true reflection of their history.

Have a look at all these architectural styles; from liberty to neoclassic… you will be walking around with your nose in the air…

Most of these building are now hotels, so you realize how much the city has developed.

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What I did not see along my walk were any little shops of local artwork (that I appreciate a lot, as you now know), all I saw were shops of well-known brands, but nothing really “artistic”!

It’s now time to plan my next escape, so see you soon!

Ph. Andrea Zangrando

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