Destination Dalmatian Riviera:
The Great Debate on Korčula
Story and photos by Tom Weber
any local from the island of Korčula and he/she will tell you straight
away that Marko, not Marco, Polo, the globetrotting merchant, cartographer
and author who straddled the 13th and 14th centuries, hailed from their
picturesque, forested isle out in the Croatian side of the Adriatic
On the other hand, if you ask a Venetian,
any anonymous Venetian, he/she, without blinking an eye, will claim
Marco, not Marko, Polo BFF with Kublai Khan, by the way
is one of La Serenissima's favorite sons.
And, that's the great, ongoing Italo-Croatia
debate that lingers on this sun-drenched island like an endless summer's
day. If you have time to wrestle with it, be my guest. I think I'll
pass and leave this tug-of-war to scholar-historians while I enjoy my
next photo shoot.
Joined at the hip with the rest of the
"band of merry media," 18 travel writers and photographers
invited by Insight
Vacations (Insight) to sample a portion of its Bosnia and Dalmatian
Riviera itinerary, we follow Neda, Insight's local expert, up the 19th
century Grand Staircase, past the 15th century Revelin Tower
sporting the emblematic winged lion of the Venetian Republic
through the 14th century Land Gate and into the historic center of Korčula
We're immediately transported back in time
by the warren of narrow streets, similar to the "body massage"
calle of Venice, where history reveals itself around every corner.
"The streets on the western side were
built straight," Neda tells us, "in order to open the town
to the summer Mistral wind, while the eastern-sided streets were curved
to minimize the cold, Bora wind of winter." Clever.
Surrounded by rocky ramparts, once the
town's first line of defense against would-be invaders attacking by
ship across the deep cobalt-blue sea, Korčula is sprinkled with great
architecture and camera-ready views.
Marko/Marco Polo may or may not have been
born here, but the influence of the Most Serene Republic of Venice is
openly on display, in style and naming rights, like the town's lesser-known
St. Mark's Cathedral.
And, not surprisingly, there's Mr. Polo's
tower house, supposedly where he was born, transformed into a museum.
Oh, did I mention that Insight's signature
digs for our stay on Korčula is none other than the four-star, Marko
(with a K) Polo Hotel? And, the great debate continues.
For complete information on Insight's premium
and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 113 journeys across Europe,
just click HERE,
or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
There's more to the Adriatic's sixth largest
island as we're about to find out shortly when we mount bikes and pedal
our way out of town and go deep into Korčula wine country for some cheese
Care to join us?
Ston, Croatia on the Half Shell; Split,
Croatia: Diocletian's Seaside Digs; The
Daredevil Divers of the Stari Most; Inside
Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope; My
Kup Runneth Over with Kafa; Sarajevo's
Storied Bridge to World War I