Standing on the coastal highway 13km northwest of Dubrovnik, the straggling village of TRSTENO is an essential day-trip destination if you’re at all interested in things horticultural. It was here in 1502 that Dubrovnik noble Ivan Gučetić built his summer villa, surrounded by formal gardens extending along a terrace overlooking the sea. Such gardens were considered de rigueur by the aristocracy of sixteenth-century Dubrovnik – sadly, those of Trsteno are the only ones which can still be enjoyed in something approaching their original form. Maintained by successive generations of the Gučetić family, the villa and its gardens were confiscated in 1948 by a communist regime eager to destroy any latent prestige still enjoyed by the Dubrovnik nobility. Soon afterwards the Yugoslav (now Croatian) Academy of Sciences took the place over and expanded it, turning it into an arboretum.

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