The first Camellia was brought to Opatija by a rich merchant Iginio Scarpa in 1894. as a gift for his wife Angiolina. Since then this "flower of flowers" is an indispensable companion of Opatija, its citizens and visitors. Today Camellias can be seen in many parks and gardens along the Opatija Riviera. As a reminder of arise of the tourism, with time this gentle flower became the renowned symbol of Opatija and whole riviera.
The most beautiful collection can be seen in Opatija largest and most important park - Park Angiolina. The origin of this park dates back to the middle of the 19th century, specifically in 1844, when the Rijeka patrician Iginio Scarpa built his summer house - Villa Angiolina. This central park of Opatija is a horticultural monument spreading on an area of 3.64 hectares and it has around 150 plant species. Many of them were brought from Far East (Japan and China), South America, Australia and other parts of the world.
The most interesting part of the park, in botanical sense, is a fenced area with bushes of the Camellia (Camellia japonica). Since its bloom season is late winter and early spring, mild Opatija winter climate is ideal habitat for this beautiful flower.
During March, which is the best season to admire the beauty of Camellia, the flower lovers can even buy young plants and have them planted in their gardens.
For those who like to bring home as a souvenir gastronomic products we recommend the “Camellia cake” – the official Opatija gastro souvenir. The cake is made of Mediterranean fruits (almonds, figs, oranges, raisins, carob and dark chocolate) and its long shelf life (no need to be stored in fridge) allows her safe transport to any destination in the world. It can be bought in Opatija hotels and coffee bars.