High on a cliff top close to Lloret de Mar, overlooking the rocky coast of the Costa Brava, the Santa Clotilde Gardens have an idyllic setting. But this is more than just a garden: it is a work of art in itself, a part of the noucentiste movement that flourished in Catalonia in the early 20th century.
Noucentisme in the Santa Clotilde Gardens
The Santa Clotilde Gardens are a part of the Open Museum of Lloret (MOLL), a collection of buildings showcasing the town’s finest architecture, both modern and historic. Although not a building, Santa Clotilde is included in MOLL because it is an outstanding example of the new wave of design that swept the region in the early 20th century. The gardens were commissioned in the noucentiste style, which was a reaction against the previously fashionable modernist movement (the best illustration of Modernism in Lloret de Mar is probably the chapels of Sant Roma Church).
Noucentisme sought to emulate the ideals of the Renaissance. As you walk around the Santa Clotilde Gardens you will note the features of classical design, with symmetry and proportion built into every part of the grounds. And the numerous statues, fountains and ponds add to the feel of a Renaissance garden.
Making the Most of the Landscape
Throughout the Gardens you sense a harmony with the environment. The steep hillside might have been a challenge for the architect, but he chose instead to make the slopes a feature of the garden, incorporating a series of stairways rising up from a central square. The steps are lined with ivy, creating the impression of giant green waterfalls. The landscape of the garden also allowed the creation of miradors and viewpoints with spectacular views over the Mediterranean.
Again working with the environment, the garden is full of native plants. It has been planted with evergreen trees and shrubs, broken up by occasional splashes of colour: an orange tree laden with fruit, or wisteria dripping from a bower. And the relationship with the sea is not forgotten. In among the more familiar mythological characters are a number of mermaid sculptures, gazing wistfully down to the water below.
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