Nova Gorica and Gorizia Revisited or the Fragrant Bourbons

After last year’s visit to the magnificent Bourbon tomb in Franciscan Monastery in Kostanjevica I was promised another visit to see the glorious Bourbon rose garden next door. Yes, the last (Bourbon) king of France is buried in a tiny monastery above Nova Gorica and Gorizia on the Slovenian side of the Slovenian Italian border. I’ve written about it here. This last weekend we went to see them, the fragrant Bourbon roses. As always with my man, the trip included a delicious lunch and also a nice walk, this time through another garden. Another new discovery. More on it below.

Lunch at Rosenbar in Gorizia. This time I resisted (the usual) alici and opted for insalata di polpo e sepia. A wonderfully fresh and delicious starter.
This time I resisted (the usual) alici and opted for insalata di polpo e sepia. A wonderfully fresh and delicious starter.

I’m no expert on roses, or gardening for that matter, but I know I’ve always been fond of them. As a teenager I was partial to long stemmed red ones, now as I’ve grown more sensible I appreciate them all. I am particularly keen on fragrant roses, they’re just my cup of tea. Apropos tea, I’ve been wondering around instagram a couple of times already why is it that the English seem to know every rose by its name but am still in the dark on that one. One of the most exquisite fragrances is the one of the Bourbon roses. They exude the heaviest scent just before noon, or so I’ve read, but to the untrained nose anytime is splendid.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUovTjblC8a/?taken-by=mrssageinsta

The little courtyard behind the Kostanjevica Monastery is where the collection of old Bourbon roses (as hommage to the Bourbons of France) can be seen during the month of May. The old Bourbon roses, this I’ve known before, are very fragrant and have lavish flowers.

End of May is quite late in the season for admiring the roses in full bloom in the warmer Mediterranean climate so they were not as spectacular as I one would wish but there were very few other visitors so we could really enjoy their company. Their perfume was dizzying. We rested on the benches in the warm sun and admired the view over Italian Gorizia. Beyond the surrounding hills the Adriatic caresses the shores.

View from the Bourbon rose garden
View from the Bourbon rose garden: below Nova Gorica in Slovenia, over the green pasture Italian Gorizia with its castle

This garden is a perfect place to rest after a good Italian lunch. Again, we had a very good one at Rosenbar. Everything was nice and good: the primi, the secondi and the dolci. I remember one expert once describing on a radio the aroma-therapeutic dimension of herbs and flowers and declaring the rose one of the most intelligent blooms: apparently it hits all the right notes for you whichever mood you happen to be in. So, yes, we digested well there, among the roses.

The view of Bourbon rose garden in Kostanjevica above Nova Gorica
Bourbon rose garden in Kostanjevica above Nova Gorica

While we were in that corner of the world we decided to check on another garden in Gorizia. Lucio Viatori’s garden (never heard of it before) is a private garden open to public for roughly two months a year. It is not heavy on roses although there are a few.

Climbing rose in Lucio Viatore’s garden
Climbing rose in Lucio Viatore’s garden

From what we have seen it must be delightful in the early spring when innumerable azaleas and magnolias flower. The garden’s main attraction is primarily its secluded location.

A view over Lucio Viatore’s garden in Gorizia while resting in the shade of the house
A view over Lucio Viatori’s garden in Gorizia while resting in the shade of the house

There you are on the hill overlooking the Gorizia castle and Kostanjevica monastery, there there are both towns at your feet but it nevertheless feels as if you were far away from civilisation. Well, truth be told, there is an occasional noise from a near-by road. But also a lot of sweet chirping of many birds.

A view of the pond in Lucio Viatore’s garden in Gorizia
A view of the pond in Lucio Viatori’s garden in Gorizia

Related:

Lucio Viatori’s garden

Bourbon rose collection in Kostanjevica