Meneghello Palmižana Art Resort: Escape the Norm, Replenish Your Soul
On the 26th September 2017, I went freediving on Palmižana and was lucky enough to stay at the Meneghello Palmižana Art Resort which was just what my soul needed.
I have had a very dynamic summer, a lot of work intermingled with some incredible experiences thanks to the nature of the job. Some highlights have included a day-charter with Polaris, a day exploring Šolta and the Martinis Marchi Summer Party to name a few.
I find it hard to name a top experience but my day on Palmižana learning to free dive with world professionals and staying in the Meneghello’s Art Resort comes very close!
Having sailed around the Adriatic, I have visited Palmižana often and always recommended our guests to dine at Toto’s or Meneghello’s Restaurant. Yes, there are two other very well-known restaurants there – Laganini and Zori but I have always found that Toto’s and Meneghello’s are two of the more unique and genuine experiences along the Dalmatian coast.
I have written about Toto’s before so, this time I am going to focus on Meneghello’s and the Art Resort.
For a little history…
The Meneghello family have owned and cared for an area on Palmižana (St. Klement) for over a hundred years; Eugen Meneghello first began with tourism in 1906 (see some incredible photos here) and Dagmar Meneghello recently celebrated 50 years on Palmižana – she is the driving force of the Palmižana everyone knows and loves today. Dagmar is the heart and soul of Palmižana and now her children Đenko, Romina and Tarin continue on her efforts.
[caption id="attachment_11620" align="alignnone" width="600"] Credit: Matej Delic[/caption]
Nature and Inspiration
The island itself is renowned for having no traffic and being a natural paradise, though what many don’t realise is that it is because of the Meneghellos that this tropical paradise exists; over the years, they have planted hundreds of varieties of exotic cacti and plants and lovingly tended the island, infusing it with soul. Over the last hundred years, Palmižana has also been an artistic haven to many. A walk through the gardens and property will attest to this; hundreds of works can be found in the restaurant, bungalows and garden – donated by artists to Dagmar.
The whole story of the island and Meneghello family is simply incredible and a rarity in this day and age. However, the first few times I visited, I didn’t know anything of the story, all I knew was the sensation I felt every time I stepped foot on Palmižana – a deep sense of calm and simultaneous euphoria has always washed over me. I become aware of my breath, my heart feels light, daily troubles disappear and a smile spreads across my face; I am not exaggerating when I say I have been close to joyful tears before and have had moments of pure inspiration. Sorry to get mushy but it’s true.
I had to begin with this introduction because I really have not come across anything else like Palmižana in all of my travels and still, my words will not do it justice.
Art, Culture, Workshops, Escape…
As well as art, the Menghellos host various unique cultural events and workshops. Just last week they hosted a Swim Quest Swimming Holiday retreat for those passionate about swimming all day and relaxing by night. And, as I said, I was lucky enough to head over to Palmižana with World Champion freediver Lidija Lijić and Vitomir Maričić to learn how to free dive.
We caught the ferry to Hvar from Split and were collected by a speedboat organised by Menghellos. Even though it was late September, Hvar town still looked in peak season, so it was a pleasure to speed away from the madness.
Speeding away from Hvar...
Upon arrival we were greeted by the most enthusiastic man I have ever met – Neno, with his big smile and Jeep! So, we knew we were in for a great 24-hours.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600"] the crew...[/caption]
After meeting Tarin and Romina Meneghello, who run the Resort and Restaurant, we were shown around the island and our bungalows by Tania Iacone; get a feel for the walk below and understand why it is my happy place...
Meneghello Palmizana Art Resort is made up of around 12, brightly coloured, unique stone dwellings. Each bungalow and villa is dedicated to a certain colour, with matching interior and artworks in each bungalow.
Credit: Tash Pericic; I was staying in the 'Purple Bungalow'
Credit: Meneghello Palmizana Art Resort
Before our dive, we had a light lunch at the Meneghello Restaurant. Meneghellos offers a beautiful menu of fresh seafood, pasta and traditional dishes. However, we opted to share a selection of starters – carpaccio, ceviche, anchovies, bruschetta… it was gorgeous, fresh and light which is just what we needed before going diving (obviously allowing time immediately before the dive). I have always loved visiting Restaurant Meneghello as it is set in the heart of the botanic garden with a view out over the harbour and the artwork is forever changing within the restaurant, making every visit unique.
Then, it was time to dive in the crystal-clear waters of Palmižana, I won’t go into details about the dive as I have already done so before but you can watch the beautiful video below to get a taste of the ‘Big Blue’.
[caption id="attachment_11622" align="alignnone" width="600"] Freediving in front of Palmizana[/caption]
Dinner that night was at Toto’s with a beautiful view out over the harbour and in the company of new friends.
That night, I slept like a baby in my cute Purple Bungalow and woke up early so I could take advantage of being able to walk 2-minutes to the beach and enjoy a swim with no one else around.
To finish off the one-day escape, we welcomed the day with a beautiful continental breakfast courtesy of Restaurant Meneghello.
[caption id="attachment_11623" align="alignnone" width="600"] Breakfast at Meneghellos[/caption]
With coffee, full bellies and an even more fulfilled soul, we were on a boat back to Hvar. The only complaint I have, is it wasn’t long enough…
[caption id="attachment_11625" align="alignnone" width="600"] Vitomir and Lidija[/caption]
I have all intentions of heading back, maybe even for a winter escape. And, when I finally write my book one day, I think I know where I will be writing it from…
If you are interested in a genuine escape, somewhere to replenish your soul or gain new skills keep Meneghello Palmižana Art Resort in mind or visit their page or Facebook for more information.
Except otherwise stated, all photos by Tash Pericic