The following itinerary lists a range of site visits which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents. The tour includes breakfast daily, lunches and dinners, indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch & D=dinner.
Trieste - 3 nights
Day 1: Sunday 24 April, Arrive Venice – Trieste
- Welcome Meeting & Welcome Drinks
- Orientation Walk
Participants arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight into Venice will be transferred by private coach to the Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta located on Piazza Unità d’Italia, the monumental main square of Trieste. After checking into our hotel, there will be time at leisure followed by a Welcome Meeting and drinks, and a short orientation walk within the vicinity of our hotel. (Overnight Trieste)
Day 2: Monday 25 April, Trieste
- Trieste walking tour, incl. Colle di San Giusto, Ancient Theatre, Basilica di San Giusto, Borgo Teresiano
- Afternoon at leisure
- Welcome Dinner at Harry’s Bistrò
Trieste is a thriving port situated on the Gulf of Trieste in the northeast Adriatic. Today it is a border city, with a population of Italians, Slovenians and Croats that reflects its geographical location and chequered history. Excavation of a Roman theatre in the 20th century showed that it prospered in antiquity until eclipsed by Aquileia. It then declined somewhat, becoming a Byzantine military outpost and then a Frankish city, a free commune which warred with Venice, and then a dependent of the Habsburg Empire. It revived during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, of which it became a major port. With the collapse of the Austrian Empire at the end of World War I, Trieste came to be annexed by Italy.
The core of the old city is the Colle San Giusto that overlooks the port. Here are clustered the main civic, defensive and religious buildings of Trieste. One of the main monuments on the hill, which constitutes an important symbol of the city, is its castle. Construction commenced in 1470 on the site of a Venetian fort, but the citadel was not finished until 1630. The cathedral of San Giusto, which also occupies Colle San Giusto, gained its present plan in 1300 when two pre-existing basilicas were merged to form its wide central nave. The cathedral has a beautiful sandstone façade and a bell tower that was built in 1337. Inside are important Byzantine mosaics and a 13th-century chapel behind a rich Baroque rail. The right nave is the chapel dedicated to San Giusto. We shall also visit Trieste’s Roman theatre as well as Borgo Teresiano, the 19th-century precinct comprising beautiful Neoclassical and Art Nouveau (Secession) buildings constructed when Trieste was an important Austrian port and resort.
This afternoon we will be at leisure to enjoy Trieste. In the evening we shall meet up again for a welcome dinner at Harry’s Bistrò. (Overnight Trieste) BD
Day 3: Tuesday 26 April, Trieste – Aquileia – Trieste
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Aquileia: Roman town and medieval Basilica with splendid mosaics
- Castello Miramare, Trieste
Today we leave Trieste for the small hill-top town of Aquileia, which was founded by the Romans in 181 BC. It rose in importance to become one of the largest and richest of the Roman Empire’s Mediterranean cities. Aquileia boasts a fine, well-preserved Basilica built in the eleventh century by the Patriarch Poppone on the ruins of a fourth-century building. According to tradition, St Mark brought the message of the Gospel here. He converted Ermacora who became the first priest of the small Christian community. Ermacora was martyred with his Deacon Fortunato and, together with the Virgin Mary, became the patron saints of the Basilica. The frescoes in the Basilica’s crypt tell their story and their relics are venerated with the other martyrs from Aquileia. After the Edict of Milan (312) when the Emperor Constantine ‘legalised’ Christian worship, the community of Aquileia – ruled at that time by Archbishop Theodore – was finally able to build its first Church and an inscription on the mosaic floor marks this event. Excavations in the Basilica’s crypt have uncovered fine mosaic pavements dating from Roman and early Christian times. Aquileia was added to UNESCO’s register of World Heritage Sites in 1998.
We return to Trieste and visit the Castello Miramare, which occupies an extraordinary site perched atop a spur above the sea. It was the home to the younger brother of Franz Joseph I of Austria, Maximilian, until he left to become the Emperor of Mexico. The next resident, Duke Amedeo of Savoy, made it the headquarters for various military commands. In 1955, it was transformed into a museum. The castle still has original furniture commissioned by Maximilian. There is a chapel, the Japanese and Chinese rooms, rich in oriental ornament, and the apartments where the Duke of Savoy lived. (Overnight Trieste) B
Porec - 2 nights
Day 4: Wednesday 27 April, Trieste – Koper – Porec
- Port city of Koper, Slovenia
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed 6th-century Basilica Complex (Cathedral, Baptistery, Bishop’s Palace), Porec
- Porec: Romanesque House (exterior), Temple of Neptune (ruins), House of the Two Saints (exterior)
This morning we depart Trieste and, after crossing into Slovenia, we make a short stop in the city of Koper. Koper’s medieval town centre is laid out around Titov Trg, a square bordered by Venetian buildings such as the 15th-century Praetorian Palace, and a Gothic style loggia. The 12th-century Cathedral of the Assumption houses one of the oldest bells in Slovenia, cast in 1333.
We continue our journey, crossing the border into Croatia, and drive south along the Adriatic coast to the magnificent port-town of Porec. Located on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the Adriatic Sea, Porec was an important centre of early Christianity and today boasts one of the finest, and most complete, early medieval religious complexes in Europe. We will visit the Basilica of Euphrasius (a Byzantine masterpiece with magnificent gold apse mosaics of the quality of Ravenna), the Sacristy and Votive chapel, the Baptistery and the Bishop’s Palace. The Basilica is entered through an arcaded atrium, typical of early Christian churches. Flanking this is the fine octagonal 6th-century Baptistery and a 16th-century bell tower. The rare, triple-aisled Bishops’ Residence and the Sacristy, also from the 6th century, make the complex one of the most cohesive, wonderfully preserved early medieval ensembles – well deserving of its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Porec also features some very important medieval domestic buildings. We will visit the ‘Romanesque House’; a 13th-century building with an interesting wooden balcony that stands at a point where the ancient Roman road, the Decumanus, meets the Marafor Square (once the site of the forum). Nearby we will see the so-called ‘House of the Two Saints’, which is all that remains of the 12th-century abbey of St Cassius. This small, one-storey residence built in the 14th to 15th century in a Romanesque style, derives its name from the stone relief figures of two saints flanking a window on the top floor. We will also explore the remains of the pre-Roman ‘Temple of Neptune’. (Overnight Porec) BD
Day 5: Thursday 28 April, Porec – Rovinj – Pula – Porec
- Rovinj: time at leisure in a coastal village
- Roman amphitheatre, Pula
- Gate of Hercules, Temple of Romae and Augustus, and Arch of the Sergii, Pula
We leave Porec this morning to visit the small fishing village of Rovinj, one of the most charming and relaxing places on the Istrian peninsula. After a stroll in Rovinj, we continue to nearby Pula – the ancient colony of ‘Pieta Julia’. Now a large regional centre and university town with a busy harbour, Pula is noted for its many fine Roman monuments. ‘Pieta Julia’ became an episcopal see in 425 AD and fragments of 5th-century religious buildings still remain. Most of its churches, however, were reconstructed in later periods (especially during the 17th century). Pula’s Roman monuments, on the other hand, are in a fine state of preservation. One such site is the imposing Pula Amphitheatre, built by Claudius and enlarged by Vespasian (79 AD) to house 23,000 spectators of gladiator fights and other Roman extravaganzas. A highlight of today’s program, the amphitheatre, is one of the most complete in existence with its 30-metre-high outer wall almost fully intact. The first and second floors feature 72 arches whilst the third has 64 broad openings designed to illuminate the internal corridors.
Other Roman monuments we will visit include the 1st-century ‘Temple of Romae and Augustus’ with its well-preserved 1st-century façade. This treasure of Roman architecture was built on simple, elegant lines and features six plain columns with intricate carved capitals. The oldest and most intact monument we will see is the single-arched 1st-century ‘Gate of Hercules’ which has a carving of Hercules at the head of the arch. The fine ‘Arch of the Sergii’, built in the 1st century BC to honour three brothers who held important posts in Rome’s government, will be another ancient site to admire. (Overnight Porec) B
Plitvice Lakes National Park - 1 night
Day 6: Friday 29 April, Porec – Beram – Opatija – Plitvice Lakes NP
- Church of St Mary of the Rocks, Beram
- Nineteenth-century resort town, Opatija
We farewell Porec this morning and travel to the little church of St Mary of the Rocks, just outside of Beram. This 15th-century church, tucked away in the woods, is seldom visited by tourists but contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes in Croatia. The frescoes date to 1474 and are the work of Vincent of Kastav and his workshop. Many of the frescoes depict scenes from the lives of Mary and Jesus; others show a procession of figures led by a skeleton playing a bagpipe, in the ‘Dance of Death’. This version of the danse macabre is the only example of this iconographic motif in Croatia. In an eighteenth-century expansion and renovation of the church, many of the frescoes were damaged and painted over, but they were subsequently rediscovered and restored in the early 20th century.
We continue our drive across the beautiful Istrian peninsula to the resort town of Opatija. In 1845, a Rijeka nobleman built the grand Villa Angioline, which, a few years later, was visited by the Austrian Empress, Maria Anna. This royal visit sparked a tourist boom and Opatija became the most fashionable resort-town of the Austro-Hungarian Empire up until World War I. The coast came to be lined with elegant Viennese villas with pretty parks and gardens, and today, Opatija still retains much of the ambience of a nineteenth-century Central European spa town. Next we turn inland to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, where we spend the night. (Overnight Plitvice Lakes National Park) BD
Zadar - 2 nights
Day 7: Saturday 30 April, Plitvice Lakes – Zadar
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Plitvice Lakes National Park
Situated in the mountainous heartland of Croatia, this intricate network of sixteen lakes, placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979, is set against mountains whose slopes are covered with dense fir, pine and beech forests. There are wonderful walks through the park where you can see some of its 160 bird species. There are no settlements in this region, only hotels. We shall spend the morning in the park with our Croatian National Guide, who will explain its bounteous fauna and flora. In the afternoon we return to the coast and continue our journey south to the beautiful town of Zadar. (Overnight Zadar) BD
Day 8: Sunday 1 May, Zadar
- Museum of Gold & Silver (Museum of Sacred Art, St Mary’s Convent)
- Romanesque Cathedral of St Anastasia
- Church of St Chrysogonus (exterior)
- Pre-Romanesque Church of St Donat
- Bishop’s Palace (exterior)
- 16th-century fortifications
- Time at leisure
Today we will explore some of the Roman ruins, medieval churches and interesting museums to be found in the marble, traffic-free streets of the old town of Zadar. Illyrians once inhabited the narrow peninsula upon which a Roman port – trading timber and wine – was built. During the Middle Ages, Zadar became the main Adriatic base of the Byzantine fleet. The Hungarians and Venetians contested control of Zadar until Ladislaus of Hungary sold the city to Venice (1409).
We shall spend the morning exploring the Museum of Gold and Silver (Museum of Sacred Art, St Mary’s Convent). It holds a fine gold collection and painting gallery that includes an important polyptych by the Venetian Vittore Carpaccio (1487). We will also see the beautiful Cathedral of St Anastasia, located on the site of the ancient forum. Founded in the 9th century by the Byzantines and rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries, it features a particularly fine Romanesque façade. Equally fascinating are the 9th century pre-Romanesque church of St Donat; a circular building with three apses and a women’s gallery (now solely used as a concert hall), and the church of St Chrysogonus with its external apsidal gallery. Another interesting site we will see in Zadar is the massive ‘Land Wall’; the 16th-century fortification featuring the Land Gate (by the great Veronese architect, Sanmicheli), upon which sits a relief of St Chrysogonus on horseback and the lion of St Mark, symbol of Venetian rule. The rest of the day is at leisure to further explore this charming city. (Overnight Zadar) B
Split - 2 nights
Day 9: Monday 2 May, Zadar – Sibenik – Trogir – Split
- Cathedral of St James, Sibenik
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Trogir
Today we drive south along the Dalmatian coast to visit the Cathedral of St James, Sibenik, recently restored after suffering damage during shelling in 1991. The Cathedral of St James is a fine Venetian Gothic and Renaissance building constructed between 1432 and 1555. The Venetian, Antonio dalle Masegne, built the lower Gothic levels and the great Dalmatian architect, Juraj Dalmatinac, the upper Renaissance sections. The Cathedral is particularly noted for its fine stonework, especially its magnificent stone vaults and dome.
We will spend the rest of the day in Trogir, the lovely UNESCO World Heritage-listed island town. Trogir was settled by the Greeks in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC and, in the 1st century AD, became the Roman municipium ‘Tragurium Civium Romanorum’. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Trogir became an independent town. In the 6th century, the Croats settled in the area and began creating monumental works of art. Masons built churches and decorated them with interlaced ornamentation. In their struggle against the Venetians for dominion in the western Balkans, the kings of Hungary guaranteed Trogir independence in return for an alliance. Communal institutions prospered and citizens elected city leaders. Despite Venetian raids, the fortified island’s population grew throughout the 11th century. Trogir had its own Bishop and, at the beginning of the 13th century, Rector Ilija from the Kacic family built a new cathedral. Forty years later, Radovan carved its main portal, arguably the most important medieval sculpture in Croatia. From 1420 to 1797, the Venetians occupied the town. After initially devastating the town, the Venetians built many new palaces, houses, towers and fortresses. A brief Napoleonic interlude followed, then the town became subject to the Austro-Hungarian empire (1814-1914). We will visit the Cathedral of St Lawrence, concentrating on its magnificent medieval sculpted portal, 13th-century octagonal stone pulpit and fine Renaissance Chapel of St John Orsini. We will also view a number of civic and military buildings and visit the Church of St Nikola. Finally, we continue the short distance to the ancient city of Split, where we will spend the next two nights. (Overnight Split) B
Day 10: Tuesday 3 May, Split – Salona – Split
- Split Archaeological Museum
- Archaeological Site of Salona
- Palace of Diocletian
- Cathedral of St Domnius (Mausoleum of Diocletian)
- Temple of Jupiter
- Chapel of St Martin
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Split grew from the palace built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian on the bay of Aspalathos in 293 AD. After abdicating in 305, Diocletian spent the last years of his life here. The bay is located on the south side of a short peninsula running out from the Dalmatian coast into the Adriatic, four miles from the site of Salona (once the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia). The terrain on which the palace was built slopes gently seaward. The palace complex became the kernel of a city when, in the 7th century AD, the inhabitants of Greek and Roman Salonae (present-day Solin) took refuge from the Avars within its walls. In the Middle Ages, Split was an autonomous commune. After two centuries of subsequent Byzantine rule and the establishment of Croat communities, Split fell to Venice in 1409.
This morning we visit Split’s archaeological museum, where we view a number of intriguing finds dating from prehistoric and Roman times. We then drive a short distance to the archaeological site at Salona. Neglected by many visitors to Croatia, this is a very interesting Roman site. Once the administrative capital of the Dalmatian coast, Salona was sacked by the Slavs and Avars in the 7th century, and the town was never rebuilt. Salona has the ruins of a fine amphitheatre, aqueduct, public baths and early Christian churches.
In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Palace of Diocletian, the largest Roman building along the Adriatic. The ground plan of the Palace is trapezoid, with towers projecting from its western, northern and eastern façades. Fortunately, later housing built within it did not destroy the coherence of its plan or much of its decoration. Thus, it stands today as – arguably – the most complete example of a Roman palace anywhere. It alone gives a clear idea of the spatial, architectonic and decorative make up of a vast imperial residence and demonstrates the court ritual and grand status of a late-Roman emperor. As well as exploring in detail the Palace of Diocletian and its substructures, we shall visit the Temple of Jupiter and the Cathedral of St Domnius (originally Diocletian’s Mausoleum), and view a number of Renaissance palaces. (Overnight Split) B
Hvar - 2 nights
Day 11: Wednesday 4 May, Split – Hvar
- Stari Grad, one of Croatia’s oldest towns
- Stari Grad Plain, a rare glimpse into 2400 years of human history
- Old town of Hvar
Early this morning we make our way to the Split ferry terminal, where we board a ferry to the island of Hvar – a jewel of the Adriatic famed for its gentle weather, the perfume of its lavender fields and its cultural treasures. Two days will be spent exploring the island and, in particular, Hvar Town and Stari Grad, where we shall also view the Stari Grad Plain. Greeks from Paros in Asia Minor established the city of Pharos here and set up the Stari Grad Plain for agricultural use in the 4th century BC, centring mainly on grapes and olives. The plain is generally still in its original form and has remained in use since Greek times to the present. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters, and bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks. The town of Stari Grad became Roman and then Byzantine, and then in the eighth century, was populated by Slavs.
Hvar Town, on the other hand, began as a haven for pirates but was transformed in 1240 when the Venetians drove the marauders out and moved the population here from Stari Grad. Like many places in Croatia, Hvar then became a self-governing commune that swore nominal loyalty at different times to the Venetians, or the Hungarian and Bosnian monarchies, until 1420, when it passed under the control of Venice. Popular revolts by the maritime population against the landed aristocracy marked the city’s later history.
Today Hvar is considered one of the most beautiful and fashionable of all Dalmatian towns after Dubrovnik and its narrow streets are dotted with a number of lovely palaces. In the lower storey of Hvar’s Venetian arsenal are arched areas where galleys could be shipped for repairs. Above this is one of Europe’s oldest theatres (1612) built, some believe, to relieve tensions between the seafaring population and the aristocracy by creating a space for communal entertainment. The island of Hvar is long and narrow, and a high, spinal ridge dominates its less populated western portion.
Our tour will include visits to the Franciscan monastery and the convent of the Benedictine nuns where they make the famous agava lace. (Overnight Hvar) BLD
Day 12: Thursday 5 May, Hvar
- Island tour with visits to several small villages
- Lunch and wine tasting at a family restaurant in one of Hvar’s charming villages
- Time at leisure in late afternoon
This morning we will further enjoy the beautiful island of Hvar, taking a short drive to the Fortica, Hvar’s fortress, to enjoy glorious views over the town and neighbouring islands. Our island tour will then continue with visits to some of the charming villages scattered along our route. Lunch will be at a small family restaurant where we’ll enjoy delicious local produce and taste Hvar’s local wines. We will return to Hvar town in the mid-afternoon and the rest of the day will be at leisure to relax. (Overnight Hvar) BL
Mostar - 1 night
Day 13: Friday 6 May, Hvar – Narona (Vid) – Mostar
- Narona Archaeological Site, Croatia’s first ‘in situ’ museum
- Mostar Old Town and UNESCO-listed Ottoman Old Bridge
Today we return to the mainland and drive along some of Croatia’s most beautiful coastline before heading inland to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the way we will pay a visit to Narona, a newly opened archaeological museum. Here the latest excavation and conservation techniques have been used to preserve the ancient monument and all unearthed artefacts within the one museum, proudly described as the first ‘in situ’ museum in Croatia. Strategically situated on the Neretva River, the area was already established as a trading centre by the 4th century BC. The town’s strong Roman links began as early as the first Illyrian War in 229BC, when Narona was a Roman military stronghold, and the town was raised to the rank of Roman colony by either Julius Caesar or Augustus. During the late Empire Narona was the seat of a diocese, but the area rapidly declined with the barbarian invasions into the region in the 7th century, and the town was abandoned. Visitors to the museum see the remains of the forum and its accompanying buildings, particularly the Temple of Augustus, as well as the monumental sculpture, mosaic pavements and smaller artefacts found during the 20th century excavations.
Mostar has undergone extensive restoration since it was badly damaged during the Balkan War in the 1990s. It is now one of the most charming towns in Bosnia and displays a variety of architecture that illustrates the town’s different layers of occupation, with mosques and churches and the famous Ottoman Old Bridge. When we arrive in Mostar we will take a walking tour around the town before enjoying a group dinner. (Overnight Mostar) BLD
Dubrovnik - 4 nights
Day 14: Saturday 7 May, Mostar – Dubrovnik
- City Walls, Gates and Forts, Dubrovnik
Today we continue our exploration of Mostar before returning to the coast and crossing the border back into Croatia. We then follow the beautiful scenic road that runs alongside the Adriatic to Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik is famed as the most picturesque city on the Dalmatian coast. Prior to the 1991 war, it was a hugely popular tourist destination and now with peace restored, the beautiful monuments and unique, welcoming atmosphere are yours to enjoy. Dubrovnik is situated on a promontory projecting into the sea under the bare limestone mass of Mount Srdj. Giant sea fortifications rise directly from the water’s edge and a massive round tower defends the city on the landward side. Outside Dubrovnik’s double line of city walls are many villas surrounded by gardens. Dubrovnik retains its historic city plan (1292), when the port was rebuilt following a fire. The main street (Stradun) is flanked by beautiful late-Renaissance houses. It runs along a valley that, before 1272, was a marshy channel dividing the Latin island of Ragusa from the Slavic forest settlement of Dubrovnik (dubrava in Serbo-Croatian means ‘grove’). A picturesque maze of steep, winding, narrow streets, leads from the Stradun. Fourteenth-century Franciscan and Dominican convents stand at the western and eastern gates of the city. The Rector’s Palace is one of the masterpieces of Dalmatian architecture. Lokrum, an offshore island, is famous for its gardens and orange groves.
Ragusa, or Ragusium, was founded in the 7th century by Roman refugees fleeing the Slav and Avar sack of Epidaurus (Cavtat) to the southeast. These Roman émigrés were joined by a colony of Slavs and thus became a meeting place of two ancient cultures. Dubrovnik came under the tutelage of Byzantium, which nevertheless allowed it a high degree of independence. Ties to Byzantium, meanwhile, encouraged the city’s economic growth. From the 9th to the 12th century, Dubrovnik was able to avoid direct rule by foreign powers. Although the city was forced to acknowledge Venetian sovereignty between 1205 and 1358, in reality it maintained a high degree of independence. By means of treaty and tribute, the city-republic enlarged its territory along the Dalmatian coast. It became a great mercantile power as the Adriatic entrepot for overland trade routes to Byzantium and the Danube region, and its merchants traded successfully throughout the Balkans.
Despite the Hungarians’ sale of Dalmatia to Venice in 1420, Dubrovnik remained a free city in all but name by skillfully manoeuvring between the East and Western Europe. A strategic treaty with Turkey protected Dubrovnik’s liberty in return for an annual tribute. This allowed the city to mediate trade between the Ottoman Empire and Europe. In the 16th century, it even traded with India and the Americas. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, art and literature prospered in the city – playing a vital role in the evolution of southern-Slav literature. In 1667 an earthquake destroyed parts of Dubrovnik, killing approximately 20 per cent of the population and leading to an economic downturn. Only during the Napoleonic Wars did the republic revive economically. From 1800 to 1805, as the sole neutral Mediterranean state, it secured a large share of the carrying trade. Napoleon I subjugated Dubrovnik in 1808. The Congress of Vienna (1815) gave Dubrovnik to Austria and in 1918 it was incorporated into Yugoslavia.
In order to best gauge the layout of city, we will walk along its city walls – arguably the most complete and untouched in Europe. They are punctured by fine gates and defended by powerful towers and forts. We will see the Pile Gate (1537); Minceta Tower by Michelozzo (architect of the Medici Palace, Florence); Asimov Tower; Ploce Gate (1300s); Revelin Fort (1580); Fort St John and Bokar Fort, also by Michelozzo. (Overnight Dubrovnik) BL
Day 15: Sunday 8 May, Dubrovnik
- Cathedral and Treasury
- Church of St Blaise
- Fountain of Onofrio
- Franciscan Monastery
- Afternoon at leisure
This morning we continue our exploration of this splendid city. We begin with a visit to the cathedral, which was built after an earlier church was devastated by an earthquake in 1667. It, like the church of St Blaise, is an excellent example of Venetian Baroque. Its nave is dominated by a late Titian, an Assumption. The cathedral treasury displays a large number of reliquaries, including an important 13th-century Arm of St Blaise.
Other interesting detours will be to the Church of St Blaise and to the lovely Square of the Loggia. This square – the political and economic heart of Dubrovnik – is located at the east end of its spinal main street, the Stradun. The square features loggias, a clock tower and guard-house; buildings which span a period from the 15th to 18th centuries. There is a delightful fountain, the Small Fountain of Onofrio (1438), which is the counterpart of the Large Fountain of Onofrio located on the other side of the city. We will visit this great mid 15th century fountain, one of Dubrovnik’s best-known monuments and historically the heart of the city’s water supply. This afternoon is at leisure. (Overnight Dubrovnik) B
Day 16: Monday 9 May, Dubrovnik – Kotor – Dubrovnik
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town of Kotor, Montenegro
Today we journey along the dramatic and spectacular mountain coastline into Montenegro. Skirting the winding Bay of Kotor, a deep inlet in the shadow of cliffs, we arrive at our next destination, the walled city of Kotor. Ruled consecutively by Illyrians, Romans, Hungarians, medieval Serbia, Venetians, the French and the Austrians, Kotor is a small and extremely beautiful city, which during its rich history was an important maritime centre.
This afternoon we take a tour of the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our tour will include a visit to St Tryphon Cathedral, a fine Romanesque church built in 1166 using Roman columns. Nearby is the Drago Palace, one of the largest palaces in Kotor, built from the 15th to the 17th century. It belonged to the large and prominent Drago clan whose coat-of-arms, a dragon on a golden field, can be seen all over the façade. Many sumptuously decorated windows also puncture the palace façade. We then return to Dubrovnik for an evening at leisure. (Overnight Dubrovnik) B
Day 17: Tuesday 10 May, Dubrovnik
- Talk by a local academic
- Renaissance Rector’s Palace and Museum of Dubrovnik
- Dominican Monastery
- Time at Leisure
- Farewell Dinner
This morning we will gather for a talk by a local academic. We then return to the old town of Dubrovnik where we will visit the remaining sites on our program. We start with a visit to the Rector’s Palace, a beautiful 15th-century building which held the administrative seat of the city for centuries. It features a fine portico by Michelozzo and an atmospheric internal courtyard that plays host to concerts during the acclaimed Dubrovnik Music Festival.
The palace hosts the Museum of Dubrovnik, which documents the city’s history with a Venetian/Dalmatian painting collection, precious objects, furniture, costumes and coins. This museum gives a vivid idea of the prosperity bestowed on Dubrovnik through its strategic location at the intersection of Balkan land and Mediterranean maritime trade.
Our final visit for the day will be to the Dominican Monastery. The various rooms of the monastery are arranged around a Gothic cloister which now houses a fine museum with some extraordinary Venetian and Croatian Renaissance paintings.
After some time at leisure in the afternoon, we meet up again in the evening to share a farewell meal together. (Overnight Dubrovnik) BD
Day 18: Wednesday 11 May, Depart Dubrovnik
- Airport transfer for those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Today our tour ends in in Dubrovnik. Those taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight will be transferred to the airport. B