Flourishes Fit for a Fairy Tale: Admiring the Details in Trogir, Croatia

“Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.”

René Descartes

How Trogir tempts me with its fanciful flourishes fit for a fairy tale!

At almost every turn in the Croatian town’s labyrinthine lanes, there emerge weathered faces, coats of arms, religious motifs, and even a nautical-inspired element. Embarking on a grocery shopping mission is a hapless endeavor, for I always become distracted, craning my neck to see the treasures on the façades above. At times, I expect my trusty Nikon (or husband) to start puffing out smoke, exhausted from my maniacal snapping.

A coat of arms featuring a rooster in the Croatian town of Trogir.
A coat of arms featuring an angel in Trogir, Croatia.
Trogir architecture
Trogir architecture

I also find myself torn between wanting to be a symbologist or art historian, or simply a child playing hide & seek in this UNESCO World Heritage-listed town that has been inhabited for more than 2,300 years, and shaped by Greek, Roman and Venetian cultures.

Trogir architecture coat of arm

My husband and I have solved some of the mysteries about these limestone motifs, thanks to chats with locals, and scant research. On the Ćipiko Palaces’ south gate (image above) is the Latin saying nosce te ipsum (know thyself). A father and son built these neighboring palaces, which are heavily adorned with multiple family coats of arms.

Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture

Yet so many other details around town remain a mystery that I wish to unravel… Perhaps it’s better that way.

Trogir architecture
Trogir architecture
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture
Trogir architecture
A coat of arm in the coastal Croatian city of Trogir depicts an arm holding a saber.
A coat of arm on a stone home in Trogir, Croatia depicts a winged dragon.
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture coat of arm
Trogir architecture coat of arm

Where have you most found yourself getting lost in the details? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • During our 7 weeks in Trogir, we stayed in a studio apartment at Apartments Mirkec (affiliate link). We were very happy there, as the apartment had good Wifi, and a kitchen with all the basics. It was also perfectly situated in the heart of the Old Town, just a minute’s walk from the Riva.
  • For more information, visit the Tourist Board of Trogir.
  • Need more inspiration? This link contains an index of all my posts from Croatia.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

26 thoughts on “Flourishes Fit for a Fairy Tale: Admiring the Details in Trogir, Croatia

  1. In Rhodes, and these crests remind me of it! Trying to decipher the secrets encoded in those stone tablets is certainly fascinating. Curious about the ones with weapons, particularly the flails. Neat post Tricia :-)

    1. Me too, Madhu (curious about the flail). I think we’re going on a guided tour next week, so I’ll have to follow up. That particular coat of arms was in the City Hall/Duke’s Palace, and there’s an incredible Gothic staircase in the courtyard where all the crests are.

      I hate to think of going to other places when we’re already in such a beautiful one, but Rhodes sounds really cool! Maybe, just maybe we’ll make it there this summer. How much did you spend in Greece?

    1. Carol, I was thinking about that the other day! How long did a piece take to do? Were they mostly done by local artists, or some traveling throughout the region? Just like the Descartes quote attests: “Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries…” I love the sense of history here.

      1. It comes as no surprise that I highly recommend it. The weather is quite pleasant this time of year and there’s no battling to be done with crowds. I’ll be happy to share any pointers once you do.

      1. we don’t…. we are in (not-so-sunny) London, and come to Trogir for our holidays. Will be there for Easter. Enjoy! :)

      2. That’s nice of you to say! I’ve only shared a handful from our time so far, but will be writing one soon on our wonderful wine-tasting experience. We like it here so much – no wonder we’ve extended!

      3. where did you go for the wine tasting? looking forward to a post about it!

  2. Hi Tricia, am so happy to find your blog. It seems we have much in common. Have been to many of the same places and seem to “focus” on similar things. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

    1. Tina, the feeling is mutual, and what a clever play on words. :) So much to explore on your photography site, but I did see a few familiar destinations (the Redwoods and Luang Prabang). It’ll be fun to explore more.

    1. That’s kind of you to say; thank you. Indeed, it’s easy to delight in and get lost in the details in Trogir. We’re just around the corner from Trogir now (after having spent last winter there) so we’re eager to get back and see friends, and the town’s mélange of beautiful architecture.

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