Timeless Lošinj

Whether it was all just in my head or not, it doesn’t even matter anymore because the magic was created. My childhood was filled with fairy-tale scenography from which I made up stories and created a large part of my life through imagination.

My family spent 12 years during summer in Mali Losinj, long enough for me to say that I spent the best part of my childhood there. We chose a beach called Čikat and for reasons known only to heaven and nature, in the 19th century, Austro-Hungarian nobles built villas that looked to me like theatre sets.

Art deco, belle epoque, art nouveau, gardens and amazing horticulture, plants from all over the world carefully selected and planted.

To confirm that not everything was just my imagination, there are indeed stories that the Austrian emperor Franz Joseph used to come secretly to Villa Karolina with his lover, the Viennese actress Katarina Schratt. Of course, just like in the story, the emperor’s wife Elizabeth, known as Sissi, introduced her husband to this actress. Sissi even supported their relationship.

Back to the fairies. As a little girl who likes to fantasise and imagine that she is one of the owners of the villa, it was irresistibly attractive that fairies have names, usually after some woman or flowers. And there are some symbols and stories drawn into the map of Lošinj’s past (Villa Adelma, Hortensia, Karolina, Paola, Alhambra, Hygeia). I was swimming in front of Villa Karolina, on the well-known jetty with steps, which looks like a piece of an old terrace that was only partially left by the sea.

We sheltered from the sun in the garden of Villa Karolina, among palm trees, pines, cypresses and olive trees. Since Lošinj has perhaps the largest area of ​​the forest park of tall pines, needles fell into our hair, books, towels… from all sides.

So right there in the yard of Villa Karolina, when the heat hits and our parents force us to hide from the sun, I lay down in my lounger and close my eyes, and the pictures start by themselves with the loud support of the squealers.

I see the owners of the villa and their friends enjoying themselves right next to me, sunbathing, reading novels with indistinct German titles, their bathing suits look as if they were assembled by hand, as well as beach dresses, hats. The women are unusually quiet, as if all day long they just breathe deeply and look out to sea through the tall fence of Villa Carolina. And then I enter the frame, a grown-up girl of 23, 24 years old. Suddenly we are all using a different language (it’s always French in my imagination), we sit at a big table and talk about clouds, air density, all the shades of the sea in front of our house and why the water there is extra salty and deep blue-green.
By the way, I read somewhere that the first owner of this villa, Joseph Lovasy, had women’s clothing stores, so it is not strange that the creations of swimwear and designer dresses entered my shots…

I take a nap, then go swimming.

I’m back to the fairies again. At the time when I went to Lošinj, they were mostly abandoned, they were taken care of by the old owners or the city and they were waiting for someone to take them under their wing again.

Among the most luxurious villas that have been preserved in their original form, the first villa built in Čikat Bay in 1895 was Villa Adelma (today Captain’s Villa Rouge), the work of the famous Viennese architect Friedrich Sigmund. Its first owner was Willibald Reidel from Graz, who, due to poor health, decided to spend the rest of his life in the Lošinj climate. After him, there were several more owners, such as the Hungarian baroness, Countess Adelma, known as a controversial European spiritual homoeopath and healer who herself recognized the healing powers of Cikat bay.

Thanks to the kind team of Lošinj Hotels & Villas, in the middle of winter I visited the closed villas to discover more details that will connect me to the story from the dreamy period between two palm trees…

Today, Villa Rouge is the queen of luxury accommodation. It has a bright red colour and a beautiful garden with a swimming pool whose green shades get additional pigments from the sea. The architects have played with the highest quality materials from around the world and vintage maritime props, so that this villa looks as if the new generations of owners have proudly preserved the memories of the great sailors. On the walls are tiles from Madagascar made of shells, each room has a specially selected Murano chandelier, lamps, tables, armchairs by famous furniture designers or even original pieces from the beginning of the 20th century. In one of the bathrooms, the famous Brazilian blue granite was used, just like in Tito’s villa in Igalo.

Ah, you can’t resist the villas in the bay, even if you just watch them from the path or while swimming. I was awakened by the February sea and sun, as well as the first lemons in the garden and blooming camellia bushes, and I am returning home with new pictures.

Next time I come to Losinj during summer, probably I’ll invite my friends from the Villa Karolina garden again to continue the interesting stories from the end of the 19th century.


The characters and events in this story are partly fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons or events is intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.

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Nataša Nikodijević Savin
Curated by Nataša

Producer (by degree and DNA structure).
A creative leader in business.
Entrepreneur. An artist. Curator and narrator.
Multitasking talent. Improviser. The inventor.



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