Walking Tour: Split's Old Town

  • Start Chapel of Arnerius
  • End Narodni trg
  • Length 500m; one hour

Begin outside the well-preserved northwestern corner tower of Diocletian's Palace at the remains of the Chapel of Arnerius, once part of St Euphemia's Church. Through the protective glass you’ll see the altar slab and sarcophagus carved by the early Renaissance master Juraj Dalmatinac.

Head in the direction of the imposing statue of Grgur Ninski, and stop to rub his toe for good luck. Take the stairs down to the Golden Gate, the grandest of the palace's portals. This was the main processional entrance into the palace, decorated with statues, columns and arches, the remains of which are still visible.

Enter the palace and walk along its main north–south street, Dioklecijanova, to the peristil, the ceremonial court at the approach to the imperial apartments. The longer side is lined with six columns, linked by arches and decorated with a stone frieze. Behind this is Diocletian's magnificent mausoleum, now the Cathedral of St Domnius.

At the far end, take the stairs up into the well-preserved vestibule, a grand and cavernous domed room, open to the sky, which was once the formal entrance to the retired emperor's personal quarters. Behind here were bedrooms, a dining hall and a bathhouse.

Step through the vestibule, head to the far right-hand corner of the little square and turn right onto Andrije Alješija. Work your way around the maze of streets, lined with medieval buildings housing some of Split's best bars, until you reach Krešimirova, the palace's main east–west axis.

Turn left and exit the palace through the high arches of the Iron Gate. As you pass through the outer part of the double gate, the building immediately to your left, easily spotted by the sculptural relief of St Anthony the Hermit on the corner, is the late-Romanesque Ciprianis-Beneditti Palace, built in 1394.

You're now on Narodni trg, which has been Split's main civic square since medieval times. It was once lined with Venetian Gothic buildings, but the only one that has survived is the 15th-century Old City Hall (Vjećnica).