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Brătianu Manor in Florica

37 Aleea Stațiunii street, Ștefănești City, Argeș County
8 km to Pitești, 115 km to Bucharest
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Located in Ștefănești, Argeș, the Brătianu family mansion, named after the village where it is built, Florica, in memory of I.C. Brătianu’s first daughter, is one of the most beautiful manorial areas in Romania, well preserved up to present day.
It is the mansion where the most important family of Romanian politicians lived, a true civil dynasty in which no less than three prime ministers were born, of which the first two – Ion and Ionel Brătianu – had a key role in the emergence of modern Romania, as the first was closely connected to the Independence war, whilst the second made the Union in 1918 possible, and had a decisive role in the reforms on which the inter-war democracy was based.
The Florica domain, which consists of a mansion, farm, chapel, wine cellar, garden and even an observatory, spread across a vast park, surrounded by vineyards in Ştefăneşti, is the work of the first two Brătianus, Ion and Ionel, father and son, who – as they were passionate builders, especially the latter – turned a stylish administrative house into a sumptuous residence, where important decisions for our history were made. The house is documented since 1829, and was composed of four ancient rooms. It is said to have belonged to Constantin Brâncoveanu, “who knew where to invest his money”.
The first Florica house was built by I.C. Brătianu in 1858 after he married Pia Pleşoianu, as the newly-formed family wanted to settle at the countryside. Starting from the initial house with four rooms and a wine cellar, old Brătianu built a mansion with a beautiful open terrace on the ground floor. It seems the owner added a few rooms upstairs. While “Vizirul” (I.C. Brătianu) was alive, the house maintained that sober style, consistent with his simple taste. Towards the end of life, with great effort, he was persuaded by his son Ionel, an enthusiastic construction engineer, that the mansion needed renovation. The way it looks today, the entire Florica ensemble is the result of Ionel Brătianu’s passion for construction, “who transformed almost everything that remained from his father, and from a small house near a vineyard he made a comfortable residence featuring a park, a farm and even an astronomical observatory”. The style house is neo-Romanian, which beautifully combines the modern and the traditional. The improvements that Ionel Brătianu (1864-1927) made in Florica lasted from 1889 to 1925. In April 1890, Ionel Brătianu finished the ground floor plans, on which the mansion’s great renovation and expansion works (1905-1912) were based, under the direct supervision of architect Petre Antonescu. The embedding in the outer walls of ancient architectural elements dates from this period – capital fragments brought from Histria, bas-relief with “Thracian Horseman” motifs, which dates from 2nd century BC, and the frieze that was brought from Sarmizegetusa.
The park of the Florica mansion, which Brătianu called “Semiramisei Gardens”, is equally remarkable. Eliza Brătianu, Ionel’s second wife, had a major contribution towards the making of the park: “She planted mountain flowers and wild flowers, she cut down trees in an attempt to create new, bright, sun-lit spaces”. This arboretum is included in the national cultural heritage sites list.
The statuary group called “The Eagles” is a contemporary art monument made of stone by Croatian sculptor Josef Mestrovic. The statuary group seems to have been completed in the 20s, and is installed in the Florica park. It could be considered a symbolic representation of the Little Entente (Romania, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia) or of the Brătianu brothers (Ionel Dinu and Vintilă). The statuary group is placed where Ion C. Brătianu’s favorite bench used to be. In 1948, the mansion was nationalized and the owner arrested. The building fell into disrepair after being used as headquarters for the Marcos Greek refugees. After 1970, it was brought to the party’s attention, and was restored and refurbished in order to become a “guest house”.
In 1990, the Ministry of Culture decided to create the “Brătianu” Cultural Center, and after 2003 it started being managed by the Argeș County Council.

Source:
Narcis Dorin Ion, The elites and residential architecture in Romania (XIX – XX), Oscar Print Publishing House, Bucharest, 2011, pp.153 – 193.

Photo: Cristina Budușan

Property details

  • 3,00 ha
  • 2.324 sqm
  • 1.774 sqm
  • 698 sqm
  • SB+GF+2F+A
  • 40
  • 14
  • Technical Building 91 sqm. Arboretum park occupies an area of 2.56 ha from the total land.
  • 1858/1889-1925
  • AG-II-m-A-13805
  • Historical monument of national and universal importance, class A.
  • Event center, Holiday house, Hotel, Memorial house, Multi-family residence, Private museum, Touristic complex
  • AG02AHE-A
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