This morning, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby to take you for a walking tour of the Old Town Split.
The Diocletian Palace, facing onto the Split harbor, is one of the most impressive Roman architectural monuments in existence and is protected as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The Roman Emperor Diocletian, noted for his persecution of early Christians, was supposedly a native of nearby Salona before rising through Roman military ranks and finally being appointed as emperor by his legions. He ruled for 20 years before abdicating and retiring to this palace. After his death, the palace was gradually abandoned until the 7th century when refugees from the surrounding areas, fleeing foreign invasions, sought shelter within the palace’s protective walls. In the following centuries, the castle’s population outgrew its capacity and the town sprawled outside the walls.
You will have the chance to explore more than 200 buildings within the boundaries of the Diocletian Palace complex, many of which are still homes, while others house cafes, restaurants, and shops. Like a typical Roman fort, in its original form the palace had a roughly square layout and was surrounded by a thick wall with gates and watchtowers. Some of the best-preserved sites you can visit are the Vestibule, the Temple of Jupiter, the Peristyle, and Diocletian’s Mausoleum – now the Cathedral of St. Dominus.
Later today, your guide and driver will take you to visit the gallery of Ivan Mestrovic – the most celebrated Croatian artist of the 20th Century. Even as a child in rural Croatia, Mestrovic demonstrated a unique talent for molding clay. This talent was later honed in Zagreb and Vienna from which emerged an exquisite artist whose brilliant creativity translated itself into sculpture. He was a colleague and friend of the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin in Vienna. During World War II, Ivan Mestrovic was imprisoned but later freed when the Vatican intervened on his behalf and he later came to the United States to teach and sculpt until his death in 1962. He is buried in a mausoleum that he designed himself. The artist was known for immortalizing womanhood in pieces such as Maternity and the History of Croatia. The gallery in Split was the original residence of the artist.
This afternoon, your driver and guide will take you a short distance outside of Split to Trogir – a treasury of cultural and historical monuments dating as far back as the 4th Century BC. Set on a small island just off the mainland, Trogir was first settled by the ancient Greeks, before falling under the Romans and later the Byzantines. Destroyed by the Saracens and abandoned in the 12th Century, thanks to its strategic location the town was soon revived and became an artistic and cultural center under the Austro-Hungarians and later the Venetians. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Old Town Trogir is surrounded by a fortress wall with two gates and is connected to the mainland by a bridge.