People from Split are very, very much in love with their city. And what’s there not to love? Mediterranean air, roman-like architecture, plenty of sunny days, and lots of bubbly souls.
However, I wanted to dig a bit deeper and understand how the locals really feel. So I asked a few of them: what is the best thing about Split?
Branimir: The best part about Split is its people. They’re all connected by a strong, temperamental Dalmatian spirit. With their pride and personality, they make Split – what seems a very crowded city – one of the most beautiful places to live.
Antonio: The best part about Split is that you can use the sea all year long. After surfing, I go home for lunch. Everything is within walking distance, I can meet with people without much trouble, and the weather is beautiful all year round. You can spend all day outside, rich or poor, because for 10 kuna you can buy a drink at the kiosk and sit by the sea, talking to friends about life for hours.
Irena: the lifestyle.
Dunja: From my very personal, emotional perspective the best thing about Split is the feeling of security and belonging that I have there. But generally, for the record, the best thing is its ability to make you see the other side of everything – usually a clearer and simpler side.
Klara: I love so many things about this city, but I think that the best things are its warm and sunny days, going out for coffee on the Riva, and taking a walk by the sea. It’s the weekend ritual of every local!
Well, I certainly don’t come from Split, but I do feel a certain connection – as though it’s yet another home. In the past few years, getting to know its nooks and crannies just a bit better, I’ve developed my own little rituals where I feel like a tourist and local at the same time.
Marvlvs is a bar that I have no idea how exactly my friends and I stumbled upon a few years back. I fell in love with it instantaneously. Its owner, a third-generation Croatian expat and writer from Argentina, arrived here years ago to discover his Dalmatian roots. He searched for something where he could open up a special cultural place of his own and ended up finding a true gem – the birthplace of Croatia’s famous Renaissance humanist and writer, Marko Marulić (Marcus Marulus in Latin). This small bar of mighty spirit situated between centuries-old walls has become a lively, pleasurable meeting place, where one can get to know visitors from all over the world, hear stories of different life paths, take part in poetry readings, celebrations, borrow books, and much, much more.
the center of life – the riva
All life in Split migrates towards the Riva (seafront). The beautiful stone used for its reconstruction and wider walking space is ideal for the crowds frequently enjoying Dalmatian air. However mainstream of a ritual sitting at the Riva may seem, I love it because its one of the best places to really appreciate the culture of this city. Sit down, order a drink, and just enjoy life happening around you.
Getting lost in the narrow streets of Split’s old town enhances the romance of each new visit. The old buildings that seem the same at a glance each holds details that shaped them into something so unrepeatable through time. I always start my walk by passing through the basements of the Palace to make it to what’s known as the Peristyle. Sometimes I sit there beneath the cathedral of Split’s patron Saint Domnius, across from the city’s cult bar Luxor, only to stare at all of the different tourists taking pictures in awe.
During my last visit to Split, I was searching for the perfect place to have a delicious Dalmatian lunch. Peeking through tight passages, my mother and I stumbled upon Apetit…. and what a good appetite they provided! Superb, organically grown specialties, an outstanding service, and all that hidden within the original walls of the Papalić Palace dating back from the 15th century. Definitely, a place I would visit again. Content guests are supposedly their best marketing technique!
Some fun facts about Split:
– from the construction of Roman emperor Diocletian’s Palace (the central part of the city) until today, about 1700 years have gone by
– the best-preserved sphinx brought from Egypt to Diocletian’s Palace was constructed 36 centuries ago, and is still the guardian of the Imperial square!
I find it really funny how in many countries people separate themselves geographically and culturally so much. New York or L.A.? Paris or Marseille? Zagreb vs. Split – only about 400 kilometers away from each other, yet two worlds apart.