Trsteno is most famous for the oldest arboretum in this part of the world. The arboretum was erected by the local noble family Gučetić in the late 15th century, who requested ship captains to bring back seeds and plants from their travels. Even Game of Thrones recognized its beauty and filmed on this mystic location. The beautiful park, which itself is a monument of garden architecture, surrounds the fifteenth century summer residence. But this beautiful place hides many secrets. Today, you will learn about the darkest secret behind this little piece of haven.
Gučetić (Gozze) family was among the oldest and most distinguished, noble families in Dubrovnik. They were mainly involved in trading business. Their villas were located all over the territory of former Republic of Dubrovnik including the islands and since they were skilled diplomats they were often chosen for the Rectors of the Republic, countryside Rectors, judges and senators.
The old family summer mansion was built within the Arboretum in Trsteno, on the site of an older Renaissance mansion damaged in the Great Earthquake in 1667.The Gučetić (Gozze) family is tied to the great legend. A young noblewoman Teresa Gučetić, fell in love with a young seafarer from the island of Lopud. Sailing the seas he gained the great wealth. Often, they would meet secretly during her stay in the family mansion in Trsteno. The lovers were crazy about each other. It was a beginning of a great love story.
Unfortunately, the strict Dubrovnik laws didn’t allow the mixing of blue and red blood. Yes, these laws were stronger than the great City walls! Young Teresa was promised to a much older nobleman and of course- she didn’t want him! Teresa suffered a lot, but there was no help. The old nobility wasn’t allowed to marry anyone from the middle-class families which gained the noble status after the big earthquake (1667). So there was no way she could marry the love of her life.
Gučetić family has already set the date for the big day and poor Teresa was desperate. In the greatest secrecy, she asked her most confidential servants to organize the boat from the City to her family mansion in Trsteno. Of course, her parents knew nothing about this. The wedding day has arrived. Teresa put the white wedding dress on, and secretly escaped the City palace.
According to the agreement, the servants prepared the boat and transferred Teresa to Trsteno. As soon as ahe arrived to their summer residence, she found the most powerful poison at the time – Axen. She consumed the whole bottle. Realizing what she just did, she ran to the family chapel to ask for God’s forgiveness. She reached the entrance of the chapel but the poison was faster. Young Teresa fell on the stone stairs in front of the chapel. A young, beautiful bride with the flowers in her hair, dressed in a white wedding dress, was found dead in front of the family chapel. This was the greatest tragedy for Gučetić family.
Today, the visitors of Arboretum testify of seeing a young woman with long red hair, wearing the white dress, wandering the walkways of this spacious garden in the summer twilight. The restless spirit of the unfortunate girl probably still wanders the Arboretum in Trsteno. The young sailor from Lopud, disappointed, and heartbroken entered the old Dubrovnik monastery to become a monk and remained there for the rest of his life.