NOTHING GREAT HAS EVER BEEN ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT PASSION
Today the estate spreads across 12 hectares of land planted with olive groves and a vineyard and enclosed by a stone wall. The 100-year-old Villa, which is set just two kilometres from the sea, took its Meneghetti name from the first owner, who moved to Bale from Udine. When the Austrians came to Istria in the middle of the 19th century, there was a fortress with 600 soldiers to protect Italy near Villa Meneghetti. However, in the 90s the estate started to decay, until in 2001 it was bought by the Croatian attorney behind its renovation.
After a few kilometres of offbeat, dusty roads you will find yourself in the middle of this paradise, whose realisation was overseen by the co-owners and masterminds of the project, Miroslav Plišo and Romana Kajfež. Miroslav is a partner in the famous Zagreb attorney office Marković and Plišo, whilst Romana is a biologist with her own medicine testing company and also the daughter of the man behind the creation of apavrine, Dr. Franjo Kajfež. To access the estate you have to make a little effort, but the reward is incalculable. Larger cities in Istria, like Rovinj and Pula, are not too far away.
COLD APPETIZER - Architecture and Aesthetics
With some help from Riccardo Paliago, a famous architect from Rovinj, the new owners have managed to renovate the house and the garden and have been able to successfully merge the new with the old. The Villa has become something of a role model for investors who want to renovate a historical building whilst retaining its authenticity and making it adapt to a modern way of living. The entire building is hewn from white Istrian rock and looks almost the same as in the 19th century. The only addition was an outdoor deck and some of the building had to be renewed to make space for an indoor pool. A garden abundant with the aromatic Mediterranean herbs – one that also serves as the main restaurant area during the summer days – is rounded off with a covered terrace.
WARM APPETIZER - Staff and catering
A stay at the estate means being treated with special care right from arrival. This care includes absolutely top-notch cuisine, the artwork of the culinary dream team of Danijela Pfifar and Bojan Vuković, who also previously cooked in the famous Valsabbion restaurant. The voyage of flavours begins with a degustation of two kinds of olive oil that awakens the appetite. The following menu is short but rich, and invites the guest to a sea or meat exploration of local delicacies. The simple, fresh ingredients are treated with creative touches in every dish For morning fare, breakfast is referred to as “breakfasting” and understandably so – you could actually linger over breakfast for the whole morning. Even if they are only preparing breakfast for four guests, every guest is greeted with freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and homemade pastries.
MAIN DISH - Conference hotel service
There are four luxuriously furnished bedrooms and bathrooms, a large living room with an open fireplace, a countryside style kitchen, a modern kitchen for the chef, a wine cellar, a pool, a sauna and fitness area. The 400m2 Villa is full of vintage furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as many smaller, authentic details, such as the vintage clocks on the fireplace or the garden table made from old doors of the house. Boutique meeting groups will love the garden full of fresh Mediterranean herbs. The level of quality it guaranteed by its Relais and Chateaux chain recognition.
OVERALL IMPRESSION AND CREDIBILITY
A truly special place in the estate is the table set under the 100-year-old oaks with views over the surrounding vineyards. As an ensemble the estate feels like an island that has been dropped onto the mainland, a place where time has stopped and you are instantly relaxed. Everything here is to an extremely high standard, but at the same time oozing genuine warmth. The space is perfect and is just calling out for small business gatherings or social events. The current plans for expansion are ambitious and as they include more capacity for business meetings make this calling even stronger. The property will certainly gain a lot from that, but at the same time may lose a little of the current charm of complete privacy and exclusiveness. In the meantime, get your skates on to feel some of the authentic Istria.