Santa Katarina is a picturesque island located across the small bay from the town of Rovigno in Istria, Croatia. We will be staying at Villa Santa Katarina, originally the residence of Count Milewski, a nobleman of Polish-Lithuanian origin who bought it in 1905. Tired of his turbulent living, he sought peace on the island of St. Katarina where he began his peculiar solitary lifestyle. He set out to make the island a true paradise, his personal heaven on earth where he could live a quiet life and enjoy the company of friends.
Milewski was serious about the scope of his work: he rented a tugboat and tow ships and brought enormous amounts of soil from the areas around Rovigno and Orsera (Tatjana’s home town), spread them around the rocky terrain on the island and then enriched it by systematic foresting. He brought vegetation from various parts of the world and the island now enjoys some of the oldest forests in the region. The beautiful rocky island is covered in conifers, inhabited by seagulls, and criss crossed with picturesque paths and secluded spots for isolated rest. It also has the public beach and swimming pools and it is only a five minute boat ride from the pier in Rovigno.
As he grew old, Milewski began to pave all pathways around the island to be able to enjoy pleasant strolls or cart rides around the island. He built four piers on the island and several rainwater tanks, only to proceed to build a spacious, elegant and magnificent castle in the middle, at the valley of the island, as well as a separate building with guestrooms in the place of the former monastery near the bell tower of St. Katarina’s Church.
Our home for the week will be the villa itself and we will paint and sketch all around the island as well as hold studio classes and daily meditation in the grand ballroom. Our excursions will of course take us away from the island but having a peaceful, secluded base will provide fertile ground for our observation and training.