Today, Lopud 1483 is an oasis of privacy and sophistication, immersed in a landscape of citruses and olive trees ruffled by the bora wind.
The island of Lopus is about ten kilometres from Dubrovnik, in the Elaphite archipelago. This land is lapped by the blue waters of the Adriatic Sea, boasting Mediterranean scrub with green vegetation and dotted with white rocks. On the most extreme point of this land, an amazing residence stands out: a former Franciscan monastery dating back to 1483, which lay abandoned since 1822.
After an accurate and patient restoration that lasted twenty years, the monastic complex has come back to its ancient glory with a new intended use. Its name sums up the geographic location and the era: Lopud 1483. The thirteen narrow cells of the monks have been “converted” into five suites with large spaces, all overlooking the sea.
The restoration operations, carried out by the creative director Francesca Thyssen- Bornemisza in close collaboration with the Arhitektri studio in Zagreb, have preserved the historical origins of the building, turning it into a one-of-a-kind accommodation, given its exclusive and spectacular location.
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza fell in love with this monastery in 1992, when she went to Croatia to deal with the restoration of some churches damaged during the Balkan war, together with the local authorities.
Since then, that love amazingly resulted in what is there for all to see. The interiors are decorated with minimal furniture by the Italian designer Paola Lenti, together with Renaissance pieces from the collection owned by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza herself.
Simplicity and elegance represent the combination that – like a basso continuo – runs under the track, unravelling the notes of an overall harmony in all the rooms, which mostly still retain the original plaster dating back to the 16th century.
The walls contrast, even chromatically, with the 15th-century architectural nature, featuring contemporary art pieces from the TBA21 Collection, as well as period paintings and wooden sculptures that stand out against the white Istrian stone.
As outside so inside: in this majestic yet discreet former monastery – starting with the living room, passing through the sleeping area, ending with the terraced garden –, you can still breathe the mystical atmosphere that was once a space for meditation and silence.
Photography by Lopud 1483 – Written by Germana Cabrelle