Forbidden "adventures" in Opatija
Opatija - A romantic destination
Like young couples in love come today, numerous princes and princesses came to Opatija over a century ago to indulge in forbidden “adventures” and love affairs. Ever since that day in 1844 when a wealthy trader Ignacio Scarpa built the famous Villa Angiolina and opened the doors for development of tourism, Opatija has been renowned as a favourite spot for a romantic getaway from reality, but even more from unwanted looks.
Archduke Rudolf and his wife Stephanie often spent time in Opatija, and the princess continued to visit even after her husband’s early passing. It is less known that one of the biggest European scandals of that time originated from Opatija. Princess’s sister Luise was married to the heir of throne of Saxony, but during one summer vacation in Opatija she met a cavalry officer von Mattachich with whom she started a love affair. After their relationship was exposed, the young officer was stripped of his ranks and title, while Louise was interned into an asylum. Stephanie was outraged and raised her voice against this injustice, quickly managing to free her sister. Stephanie’s husband Rudolf was also a frequent guest of Opatija, mostly due to his “health” issues. One of his many “excursions” was particularly well documented, and it was his relationship with Anne Kuranda, wife of the manager of the Hungarian maritime society Adria.
Another controversial guest of Opatija was Archduke Ludwig, a peculiar man known for his opposition to rigid rules imposed by the Viennese court. The media often reported on his deviant parties and affections. The rumour says that sailors on his yacht were actually young girls in disguise, and he even owned a personal harem.
Still, the most famous “women’s favorite” from Opatija’s glory days was Otto Habsburg. His wild lifestyle was one of the most popular topics all over the Empire at the time. It was said that he switched between women like some do with suits. Emperor Franz Joseph tolerated Otto’s adventures until the affair with Marie Schlanzer, a famous Viennese ballerina and singer. This was more than just another affair for Otto; the couple even had two children. To salvage the family honour, Emperor “exiled” Marie to Opatija and arranged a marriage to a doctor named Kohn, who was given a villa and a noble title. The married couple later had a third child, but Marie still continued her relationship with Otto.
We already mentioned Franz Joseph in his role as the defender of family honour, but was the great Emperor without sin? Of course not. His relationship with the famous actress Catarina Schratt was pretty much known to the public. The couple was often seen during romantic walks through Opatija and surrounding resorts. The Emperor was much closer to his mistress than he was to his own wife. Catarina was the love of his life, woman who stayed with him to the very end, till his dying breath on the deathbed, although she was not allowed to attend his funeral.
Visit the most romatic riviera in Croatia
As you can see, history recorded numerous intriguing stories on great forbidden adventures and love affairs in Opatija. What happens next? It is up to you to continue the tradition of great romances on the famous Riviera…
Located in Opatija
Hotel Kvarner exudes history and class with the Adriatic Sea as a beautiful backdrop.
Located in Opatija
The historic Hotel Imperial combines modern amenities with Art Nouveau architecture.