Today you have a private visit to the gallery of Ivan Mestrovic with a curator – the most celebrated Croatian artist of the 20th Century. He was a colleague and friend of the famous French sculptor August Rodin in Vienna. During World War II Ivan Mestrovic was imprisoned but later freed when the Vatican intervened on his behalf. 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.
Next, you will tour the Diocletian Palace, one of the most impressive Roman architectural monuments and 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 the military ranks and getting 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 wander around the 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 (castrum), 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.
Note: While transportation services are included, the historical center of Split is pedestrian only. Please wear comfortable footwear.