Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Korcula |©thepalladiantraveler.comAsk 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 Sea.

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.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Korcula |©thepalladiantraveler.comJoined 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 guide, 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 Town.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Korcula |©thepalladiantraveler.comWe’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.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera: Korcula |©thepalladiantraveler.com
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 hotel for our stay on Korčula is none other than the four-star Marko Polo? And, the great debate continues.

Destination Dalmatian Riviera | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFor 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 and Grk.

Care to join us?

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

6 comments

  1. Debate on Marko/Marco Polo may carry on indefinitely, but Korcula looks like an interesting place to visit, with its narrow streets and Venetian influences. Nice blog Tom.

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