The story of Kunstelj Inn began in 1861 when Franc Selezjan Kunstelj bought the Hudovernik cafe in the Zagorec house and he then turned it into a restaurant in 1873. The property, which had a farm in the backyard, began to flourish in 1906 when Franc’s son, Rudolf Kunstelj, took over ownership.
Rudolf extended the café into an inn with rooms and built a large saloon with a stage and wine cellar. Kunstelj Inn soon became known as a venue for entertainment and cultural events, and a popular meeting place for locals and people from the surrounding areas.
After Rudolf Kunstelj’s death, Kunstelj Inn was taken over by the wealthy Radovljica landowner Pavlin and then, in 1926 it was purchased by Jerica Štiherle, grandmother of the Štiherle family. Since then, Kunstelj Inn has been owned and managed by the Štiherle family. Since the name of ‘Kunstelj inn’ was well-known, Jerica, an enterprising and wise woman, decided to keep it. She also took over the home farm and used the majority of crops for preparing food in the restaurant. Every year, when the potatoes were stored in the cellar, grandmother Jerica happily said, “Potatoes are in the basement. Now we will not go hungry!” Farming was abandoned in 1968, however, the inn retained a part of the land where today vegetables and herbs are still grown.
Jerica handed over the property to her son Anton, who, together with his wife Mary, managed the inn until 1980. At that time Kunstelj Inn gained a wider reputation in part due to the frequent visits by the former Yugoslav president Josip Broz “Tito”. In 1965, Tito and his entourage dined in the Hunter’s Room, where he enjoyed homemade sausages, pickled cabbage and Cviček wine. Before leaving, Tito wrote in the guest book: “Lunch was excellent “.
Kunstelj Inn remembers Tito every year on Youth Day, which takes place on 25th May. It serves as an opportunity for the revival of good memories and joyful gatherings.
The running of Kunstelj Inn was later assumed by the son Toni, who, together with his wife Maria, further enriched the facilities and services offered. Toni and Maria restored all the guest rooms and built an additional four rooms. They also built a winter garden, which facilitates the passage from the small hall to the great hall during winter.
A very special vine grows in the backyard of Kunstelj Inn. The vine is a descendant of the Old Vine from Lent, which is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest vine in the world and dates back more than 400 years. The vine was donated to Radolvljica by the city of Maribor and is taken care of by the Šparon vine society.