Split, Croatia is the stuff of explorers’ dreams. Situated along the sparkling Adriatic Sea and crowned by the Palace of Roman Emperor Diocletian, its Old Town features maze-like passageways and weathered limestone buildings and lanes. In the Fourth Century AD, Roman Emperor Diocletian had his retirement palace built here.
Emperor Diocletian indeed recognized the good life. In 305 AD, he stepped away from the throne, opting to retire along the Dalmatian Coast in what was then known as Spalatum. He is the only Roman emperor to voluntarily resign. Roman senators would later approach Diocletian and ask him to return to public office. Diocletian, enamored with life in his seaside palace, refused to do so and remained in Spalatum until his death at the age of 66.
Eventually, residents from neighboring areas found shelter within the palace walls, building their own homes and businesses within the palace’s protective shell. Today one can explore these winding, cobbled lanes and spy the remnants of the Roman architecture mingled with a hodgepodge of architectural styles from the last few hundred years.
In the windows of the palace’s 1,700 year-old walls, you might also catch a glimpse of more ordinary sites: flower pots brimming with colorful buds, dogs soaking up the sunshine, or a set of red Snoopy sweat pants drying in the breeze.
Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.