The Renaissance stage is divided into two periods: early Renaissance, which lasted from its founding at the end of the 15th century and the fi rst half of the 16th century. The initial spatial conception of the gardens shows early Renaissance characteristics, the most expressive of which are the openness and connectedness of the gardens and the summer home with their surroundings and the corresponding axes of the summer home and the gardens, which had in this earliest stage already proven to be the bi-directional bearer of the gardens’ content and composition. No archival documents have yet been found from the late Renaissance period in the second half of the 16th century, when the gardens became one of the centres of Dubrovnik’s intellectual life, and so it can only be assumed that this period saw the further extrapolation and organisation of the space within the laurel grove, as well as the appearance of the Renaissance fountain at the end of the compositional axis.

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An old postcard from 1914

The Baroque stage, compared to Italian gardens, began late, only after the great earthquake in 1667, and it lasted throughout the entire 18th century. The extended axis became the main and recognisable bearer of the Baroque composition, and was developed and extended through the grove to the creek, joining all of the representative structures: the pavilion, the summer home, the chapel, the fountain, and the aqueduct. With this development of the main axis of the gardens, the summer home became the fulcrum between two opposing orientations – the environment outside the gardens and the nimfej within the gardens. The expansion of the orthogonal network of the walking paths, executed with box-wood hedges and bosquets, and the large and luxurious (for Dubrovnik’s standards) fountain nimfej, connected to the aqueduct, brought new content in the spirit of Baroque classicism to the old grove in 1736.

Arboretum CASA Trsteno
An old postcard from 1905

The Romanticist-Historicist stage began in the mid-19th century, when Baltazar Bassegli Gozze methodically renewed the gardens. A new, Romanticist sequence with a symbolic, winding path was attached to the Baroque extension in the direction of the longitudinal axis. Baltazar executed historicist parterres in the old garden spaces in the Renaissance and Baroque part of the garden according to his own design. Six of Baltazar’s designs, found among the family archives, are discernible today in the remains of the old parterres. The planting of new domestic and foreign species of plants, exotics and cultivars changed the old gardens’ composition, and by the late 19th and early 20th century it was beginning to look more and more like a dendrological collection.

Arboretum CASA Trsteno

The late Romanticist-Historicist stage began in 1905, with the construction of a new gardens at Drvarica of the complex type typical of the 19th century, but which, because of its belonging to the Mediterranean climate and culture, differs from similar European gardens as a Mediterranean version of the landscaped gardens. The gardens were built gradually, starting with the geometric concourse, and later the landscaped part, which made complete use of natural and orographic advantages to occasionally incorporate decorative and exotic species into the natural vegetation. The gardens excel in the unique fi nesse of their architectural composition, consisting of terraces, gazebos, and stone stairways that lead down the slope to the rocky coast.

Arboretum CASA Trsteno
Entrance to the neo-romantic park on Drvarica, 1927

The protection and restoration stage began in 1948, after the whole of the estate including, the gardens and a part of the estate’s agricultural space, was pronounced an arboretum and placed under legal protection. Some of the estate’s area and structures were repurposed and opened to the public, while some of it was put into use for research work and regular maintenance. The fi rst restoration began in 1965 with the transformation of four parterres. The 1980’s also saw another few transformations. Geological, geo-detic, and orthophoto have been being made since the year 2000, and in 2006, a graphic display of the current state of the vegetation and structures was created. Simultaneous research of historical changes and development of the estate’s gardens and agricultural land is being carried out, and a historical matrix is also being made as a foundation for a protection and reconstruction plan for the entirety of the estate.