Split – The Residence of a Retired Roman Emperor

by Dean on May 30, 2015

Post image for Split – The Residence of a Retired Roman Emperor

Imagine traveling the dusty roads of the historical site of an ancient Roman Empire and wending your weary way through the glorious sunshine. You round a hill-top and there, stretched out before you, you can see the sun shimmering off the Adriatic Sea, lush green islands like emeralds emerging from the most vivid blue imaginable, the leafy promontory of Marjan’s Hill reaching out towards them and near the shore, solid, secure and beautiful, the Palace, its square walls cool and protecting.

Split, Croatia
Image source: My Joie DeVivre

Imagine how delightful it would be to arrive at this idyllic haven, perhaps even to call it home. So must Emperor Diocletian have felt when he visited the palace. So do less august visitors to the beautiful city of Split feel today, following in the Emperor’s footsteps as they make their way to their holiday accommodation or summer or retirement property.

Split, Croatia
Image source: Adria Tours Croatia

Entering the old town of Split, it is easy to imagine how Diocletian and his contemporaries must have felt. Some things, of course, have moved on in the millennia since Diocletian’s birth, reign as Roman Emperor and retirement to tend his vegetable gardens by the sea in what is now known as Split. But much remains as he would recognize it. The land and seascape around the modern city is relatively unchanged. The islands in the bay still stand jewel-like in the scintillating waters. The palace is remarkably intact and visitors will find it easy to imagine the tranquil life to which Diocletian decided to retire. Relax within the square of the Palace which now forms the core of the old town of Split, and visit the heavily fortified compound where Diocletian saw out his days.

Split, Croatia
Image source: Terra Dalmatica

Within the compound, large unchanged elements remain. This is one of the best preserved Roman Palace in the world. You can see the peristyle, and Diocletian’s Mausoleum which is now the Cathedral of St. Domnius amongst other precious architectural treasures. Nearby you can visit, as Diocletian must have done, the city of his birth, the important Roman centre of Salona, in modern day Solin, where many more Roman architectural beauties can be found. Perhaps, as Diocletian did, you will be looking to settle down in this paradise – to enjoy sun, sea and delicious food as you tend a garden or simply relax in one, or on a beach. In this city good enough for an Emperor, you are bound to find your very own palace – though perhaps not on the same scale as Diocletian’s.

Split, Croatia
Image source: Adriatic Charter Yachts

On the other hand, you may be drawn to adventure – to venture beyond the town walls to sail on the Adriatic, to visit the islands that beckon you. To the lavender fields of Hvar, the woodlands of magical Mljet, or volcanic Vis or to one of the other islands of the hundreds that dot this seascape. Yacht charter will allow you to fulfil your dreams of seafaring excitement and utter relaxation in quiet coves and quaint harbours. Perhaps you want some relaxation and some adventure, in which case Split is the perfect destination.

You could well feel like you yourself are a Roman Emperor, so privileged and so lucky. The question is, will a short holiday be long enough? How long will you stay once you arrive in this heavenly place?

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