Villa Angiolina is the building that certainly marked the beginning of the tourist epoch in the history of Opatija. Pending its building in 1844 (actually a reconstruction of an older building owned by baron Haller von Hallerstein), Opatija was a relatively large settlement with about 120 houses, clustered mainly around plots further away from the sea coast and chiefly oriented towards fishing and seafaring.
With the arrival of Iginia Scarpa, a patrician from Rijeka, and building of his summer house Angiolina (named after Scarpa’s then already deceased wife, originating from the Sartori family), Opatija opened her doors to a whole line of guests and passengers, among whom it is noteworthy to mention the Austrian empress Mary Ann, the botanist Heinrich Noë, the Croatian ban Josip Jela and others who in their enthusiasm for the local vegetation and climate spread the fame about Opatija and thus prepared the ground for the future health resort.
After Scarpa and his son Paolo, who as early as 1869 entertained the idea of establishing a sanatorium, the villa was owned by the Moravian nobleman Chorinsky, the Southern Railways Company (during their proprietorship the villa accommodated the heirs-to-the-throne couple Rudolph and Stephanie and their guest, the Styrian satirist Rosegger), the International Wagon-lit Society, the Health Resort Commission, and others.
As the price of the villa rose and taking into account the fact that Iginio Scarpa purchased the entire grounds at the price of 700 florins, in 1910 the villa with the surrounding park full of exotic plants was sold for 2.5 million crowns.
In Scarpa’s time the meeting-place of the upper crust of Rijeka, thereafter the site of summertime entertainment on its terraces, during the end of the Austrian period the seat of the Health Resort Commission with an orchestral pavilion and lively promenade in front of its southern façade, today the villa is foreordained to become the town museum of Opatija, in the state of being developed.
Source: Amir Muzur-Itinerary for Researchers and the Inquisitive
(photo: Maestralno; Georges Jansoone)