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A stunningly beautiful country has re-emerged as a hot tourist spot for millennials, baby boomers, families and honeymooners!

The history of Croatia is fascinating. Croatia has long been a land of passage and a point of contact between different worlds and cultures, situated between eastern and western Europe.

Croatia has been under siege for most of its history. From the Barbarian invasion in 378, to the invasion by the Avars in the 7th century, to the conquering of Croatia by Hungary in 1102, to the Turkish domination of Hungary and Croatia in the 16th century, through the suffering from World War I and World War II, and up the rebellion with Serbia till 1995, Croatia continues to recover from its history of political turmoil. Croatia joined the European Union (EU) in 2013, but claims its independence with using Kuna as the country’s currency, rather than Euro.

Zagreb: the capitol of Croatia has an old town (Gornji grad or Upper Town) and the modern area (Donji grad or Lower Town). The two areas meet at the large square, Trg bana Jelacica.

The area of the Zagreb city contains administrative and political buildings, several museums, gardens, parks and of course, numerous churches.

Croatia is an amazing country with great ethnic, historical, architectural and topographic diversity. Istria is a triangular peninsula in the North. Porec and Rovinj (where the dogs hunt for truffles) are two beautiful and popular towns with access by ferry to and from Venice.

Nightlife in Porec and in Split is worth mentioning and experiencing.

Nightclub in Porec

Beaches of Split

Split: is a city of artistic and historical interest. The old town centre is full of charm with the Emperor Diocletian’s vast Roman palace, built in 284 AD and restored several times after conflicts. It is one of the largest and best-preserved palaces left from the Roman world. The Cathedral of St Domnius, which was originally the mausoleum for the emperor was transformed and is widely regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world

Traveling south from Split along the Dalmatian coast, one can enjoy the limestone mountainside, sandy beaches, Adriatic Sea views, deserted and beautifully cared for islands, national parks and splendid cities.

Hvar: one of the more famous and visited Croatian islands, known for its fields of scented lavender, limestone hills and intimate coved beaches. Hvar is a beautifully preserved Renaissance destination popular with artists and celebrities who marvel at its chic ambience.

Peljesac Peninsula: covered with vineyards and fruit trees, olive gardens and oyster farming.

There are about 50 vineyards on this peninsula, most are family run vineyards for many decades. The vineyards are built on stony hillsides with low-growing vines cultivated inside the mountain walls and protected from the cold north winds and kept cool in the hot summer months. Dingac, one of the best Croatian reds and Postup are from this region. Plavac (red) comes from the Dubrovnik area

Ston, enclosed by more than 3 miles of walls was bombed in 1991 by the Serbs and struck by an earthquake in 1996. It still remains as one of the largest and most interesting defensive structures in the Adriatic and in the world (compared to the Great Wall of China.

Dubrovnik: Between 1991 and 1995, Dubrovnik was the target of relentless bombing and guided missiles causing damage to most of the significant monuments in Dubrovnik. UNESCO and the European Union in 1995 set up a special commission for the reconstruction of the city. The Old City is filled with splendor from the past with tourism flourishing big time. One can get lost within the walls of the town centre, stumbling upon Rector Palace, the Church of St. Blaise, the Dominican Monastery and much more. The Stradun, the main road through the old city is lined with cafes, shops and flocks of people strolling. The Dubrovnik cable car takes you up in 3 ½ minutes and offers wonderful views of Dubrovnik. I fell in love with Dubrovnik, the people, the culture, the cuisine and truly, all of Croatia.

Cuisine of Croatia:

Oysters from Ston, truffles from Rivenj, crustaceans, swiss chard with potatoes, octopus,

fish filet, mussels, pag cheese – it’s all wonderful. The numerous restaurants offer fresh fish, pastas, risotto, salads, and much more.

Coffee is a true love of the people, as is the gelato and the wine.

Frutta di mare Branzino over swisschard & potatoes


Villa Splendid – Dubrovnik

Villa Splendid was built in 1934 on the water’s edge of the Lapad peninsula, less than 3 miles from the center of the old walled city of Dubrovnik. The views of the Adriatic Sea and the Elaphite Islands are breathtaking, from the many stone terraces of the home. I could only imagine this location as a discotheque at one point, prior to being purchased in 2001 by

Bob Benmosche, former CEO of MetLife and later American International Group (AIG). As a guest at the villa, we found it to be peaceful, full of history and interest, beautifully cared for by a full-time staff and a true jewel of Dubrovnik. I would highly recommend a stay at Villa Splendid, with several options for accomodations.

Villa Splendid Views from the stone terraces of Villa Splendid

Make the journey to Croatia via Venice, take the ferry to Porec or Rivenj (2 ½ hours), drive to Split (4.5 hours) and then continue your drive down the Dalmatian coastline to Dubrovnik (3.5 hours). Lots of places to stop along the way, all unique and special. A spectacular panoramic gem!

So much to see and to learn, a beautiful country and culture with wonderful people, food and wine to enjoy!

Mangia, viaggio e amore.

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