The Brda region, known for its orchards and its vineyard-covered hills, has recently emerged as one of Slovenia’s leading tourist attractions. But Villa Vipolže, a magnificent Renaissance manor, reminds visitors that the region has always been rich in natural bounty.
The hills of the Brda Region were long prime hunting grounds, and the villa began its existence in the 12th century as a hunting lodge and a horse stable for nobles from the nearby town of Gorizia. Over the years, the several families exchanged ownership of the building. Some of those families, such as the Herbersteins and the Attems, wielded significant political and economic power in the Slovenian Lands.
It was the Republic of Venice, however, that left the most prominent mark on Villa Vipolže. After a fire in the 17th century, the Venetians gave it a late Renaissance appearance, including typically Venetian decorations, two corner towers, obelisk-shaped chimneys, and – as befitted this vineyard-covered region – a wine cellar.
It was during this time that a Baroque fountain was added to the villa’s garden. In the park, impressive cypress trees – among the oldest in Slovenia – still recall those glory days.
That golden age became just a memory in the 20th century, when the villa was affected by political turmoil. During World War I, it was used as a field hospital, and it was badly damaged by a bomb in World War II. Then, just as the Brda region joined Yugoslavia after the war, a fire tore through the building.
For decades, the villa stood empty and in a dilapidated condition. In 2012, however, it was restored to its former glory, in part thanks to European Union funds. Now, Villa Vipolže is owned by the local municipality and can be rented out for events ranging from weddings to business meetings. It contains four apartments and two suites.
With its new look and role, Villa Vipolže is once again the pride of the Brda region – much as it had been centuries ago.