Maks Fabiani was born in the village of Kobdilj, in the Fabiani family’s country mansion. From the very beginning of his schooling, he was among the best pupils of his generation. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Technical School for Architecture in Vienna, where he soon became a renowned architect. He was one of the most prominent urban planners of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. He was an innovator in architecture at the turn of the 20th century, a professor at the Vienna Technical University, and an art consultant of Franz Ferdinand, the Habsburg crown prince.
Some of his designs were conceptual novelties in European architecture. He left an indelible mark on Štanjel during his 20-year period in office as the mayor. With some well-considered architectural interventions, he restored the former central role of the settlement and substantially contributed to the redesigning of the space, as seen today. He established a municipal centre in the castle, including the mayor’s office, a school, a kindergarten, a cinema, a health station and some other public spaces. He redesigned and renovated the entrance tower, along with the staircase, as well as the main square and the platform between the castle and the church. The story of this great architect and his most outstanding works are presented during an interactive guided tour – Fabian's Štanjel.
The best-known part of Fabiani's legacy in Štanjel is the Ferrari Garden that was built next to the Ferrari Villa. For the Ferrari family, i.e. three brothers from Trieste, Fabiani innovatively and in his own typical style redesigned old abandoned houses and combined them into a new whole, i.e. the Ferrari Villa. At the foot of the villa was agricultural land, with fields and vineyards. Between 1920 and 1930 Fabiani gradually redesigned them into the Ferrari Garden.
The park was constructed on terraces, in a similar manner as the old village. There was plenty of room on the terraces for vegetable and rose gardens, while the planted trees were mostly Mediterranean species. In his design of the garden, Fabiani applied both traditional methods that are typical of the karst landscape and elements that have nothing to do with the Karst but reflect the ideals of that time. The outlook pavilion, the oval pond with a small “Venetian-style” bridge, the artificial cave with a “Botticelli” seashell and the fountains thus were created. Yet the genuine phenomenon of the Ferrari Garden is its water supply system. Fabiani found a solution to the eternal problem of water shortage in the Karst; namely, he designed a water supply system where the traditional rainwater collection was upgraded by a complex system of collection canals, water tanks and pipes as well as drainage and irrigation canals. Consequently, at the turn of the 20th century, the Ferrari Villa and its garden were provided with their own fresh water used not only for their basic needs but also for entertainment and decorative purposes.
Today, the Ferrari Garden is a cultural monument of a national importance. It provides a unique setting for business meetings, cultural events and private events. Its attractive backdrop makes it one of the most popular wedding locations.