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Dalmatia: islands, sea and Venetian towns

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Dalmatia is a historical region on the Adriatic coast, between the city of Rijeka (Fiume), in Croatia, and Albania. The territory of Dalmatia is today divided between three states: Croatia (which includes almost the entire historical Dalmatia), Montenegro (which includes the area of the Bay of Kotor) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (which includes the area around the city of Neum).

All the hundreds of islands scattered along the Adriatic coast are also part of Dalmatia: All these islands belong to Croatia. Among these the largest are: Krk (Veglia, 405 km²), Cres (Cherso, 405 km²), Brač (Brazza, 396 km²), Pag (Pago, 305 km²), Hvar (Lésina, 297 km²) and Korčula (Curzola, 279 km²). The most important cities of Dalmatia are the cities of Split (Spalato), Šibenik (Sebenico), Zadar (Zara) and Dubrovnik (Ragusa).

The territory of Dalmatia is mainly formed by a limestone plateau, bordered to the east by the Dinaric Alps. There are few rivers that cross it, the most important are the Krka (Cherca), the Narenta and the Zrmanja (Zermagna).


The history of Dalmatia begins in the 4th century BC. when the coast was colonized by the Greeks who founded some cities. In the 1st century BC. the whole area entered the Roman orbit and remained there until the barbarian invasions.

During the Middle Ages, precisely in the 11th century, the Venetian influence began along the entire Dalmatian coast, which, starting from the 15th century, extended to all of Dalmatia. Venetian control over much of the area remained until the fall of the Serenissima in 1797.

After the Napoleonic upheavals, the whole area passed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which maintained control until the end of the First World War, when most of the Dalmatian coast was assigned to Yugoslavia, with the exception of the city of Zara and the islands of Cherso, Lussino, Pelagosa and Lagosta which were assigned to Italy. Italy lost everything with the Second World War, since then the entire Dalmatian coast became part of Yugoslavia, and then became Croatian territory.


Tourism is among the main sources of income in Dalmatia. This is thanks to the many historic cities along the Dalmatian coast such as Dubrovnik (Ragusa), Split (Spalato), Zadar (Zara), Trogir (Trau) and Kotor (Cattaro). Furthermore, in Dalmatia there are numerous modern seaside resorts scattered along the coast and in the many islands.

There are many sites in Dalmatia that have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Among these, in Croatia, we find: the historical complex of Split (Spalato) with the palace of Diocletian. The historic city of Trogir. The old town of Dubrovnik (Ragusa). The Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik (Sebenico). Plitvice Lakes National Park. The plain of Stari Grad (Cittavecchia) on the island of Hvar. While the cultural-historical region of Kotorska (Kotor) is located in the Dalmatian coast of Montenegro.

When to go.


This article is also available in: Italian

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