A garden with a story! Ancient, exciting, venerable. With ongoing passages of tumultuous history, of a time of which we cannot be proud. And a re-awakening – an awareness of a priceless heritage that has waited patiently until now.
Once there was a garden
19th century. Trieste and its hinterland on the Karst, which provided a retreat for the wealthy, particularly in the summer heat. Away from the bustle of city streets, to a land of closely clustered villages, centred on Sežana, which with the economic expansion of that time was an important waystation on the route from Vienna to Trieste.
The opportunity for an even richer life for wealthy Trieste worthies, including the Greek merchant family Scaramangà, who bought the estate on the edge of Sežana, in the shade of Tabor hill, in order to build a monument of mighty possession on it. The summer residence Villa Mirasasso, which from 1848 with its symbolic name meaning “stone view" charmingly hints at Trieste’s Castle Miramare, “sea view”.
A garden was built over the course of the next few decades at the foot of the villa that still retains its eloquent rooms and summer verandas. In the style of Italian bourgeois gardens, an impressive part of the Scaramanga estate, worthy of admiration, surrounded by a high stone wall that hides it from the gaze of strangers, a harmony of glades and rondos, footpaths and ponds, a glass palm house, pergolas and small pavilions, orchards and vineyards and unusual trees. Extremely interesting plants, until then alien to the Karst, brought from travels round the world to which Scaramanga’s ships sailed. Cedar, fir, magnolia, palm trees and aralia were carefully planted and tended in the karst soil. With a feeling for beauty and order, which all three generations of the Scaramanga family felt and cultivated through the century of ownership of the Sežana estate.
Giovanni I, followed by Myrtò and then his son Giovanni Scaramanga di Altomonte, who left a strong imprint on Sežana. As the last owner of this large estate, a master who provided work for many still living Sežana locals, until he lost his entire estates under the chopping block of nationalization in 1947. From then on, judging by records, the Sežana estate awakened only memories in Giovanni Scaramanga di Altomonte; while he walked with his stick through the bustling city streets of Trieste; while he missed the peace of the stony turfs and Villa Mirasasso on them; while he missed his garden terribly …
The garden until today
After the Scaramanga family lost their Sežana estate, the door to the garden was opened. Anyone could enter it who had until then only heard about this marvel, and dreamed while hearing. But fate had its own way. The garden, together with the villa, became a military post, then a city park, and then a hideout for vandals. It became like a walnut gnawed by time. But still with a shell of firmly rooted trees from different parts of the world, which to this day have resisted the turbulent conditions. Bora, sun, the stony karst soil. And man. Until he again looked on it differently, walked through it and understood. Grasped that not even time erases some traces, so it is right to restore its former glory. And with it the dignity that is attached to it, the value that it once had. In a sign of respect, with awareness that the garden is something of value, something of worth …