Nel cuore della Croazia, Spalato in due giorni

C’era una volta un Imperatore romano che fece costruire lungo la costa un enorme palazzo, affacciato sul mare. L’edificio aveva saloni, giardini, biblioteche e mura robuste da farlo resistere nel tempo. Questo palazzo oggi c’è ancora, ci sono le sue mura e i suoi corridoi, le colonne, i pavimenti e i soffitti; era così grande che oggi al suo interno sorge una città: Spalato.

Ebbene si, il centro storico della città, capoluogo della Dalmazia e seconda città della Croazia, sviluppata lungo la costa, sorge tra le mura che un tempo racchiudevano il Palazzo di Diocleziano; imperatore originario di queste terre e terribile per le sue persecuzioni ai cristiani che decise di ritirarsi qui a vita privata quando lasciò il trono.

Per avere idea di quanto fosse enorme il palazzo non c’è niente di meglio che girare tra i vicoli. L’ingresso che un tempo dava sull’antica strada che portava a Solin è ancora intatto e la porta Aurea ancora intimorisce i visitatori. Oggi all’ingresso sorge la statua di Gregorio di Nin, il vescovo che introdusse il croato nelle cerimonie religiose; il monumento non è molto rilevante, ma seguendo la strana tradizione che colpisce tutte le statue di bronzo sparpagliate nel mondo, la leggenda vuole che strofinare l’alluce, unico punto lucido dell’intero monumento, porti fortuna.

Sul prato davanti le mura sorgono alcune resti molto più interessanti, innanzitutto una delle quattro torri angolari del palazzo conservata in perfetto stato e la Cappella di Arnir del ‘400 trasformata in mausoleo, che all’interno
conserva ancora l’altare e il sarcofago. Tornando alla porta e varcandone la soglia provate a chiudere gli occhi e immaginare le statue, gli archi e le colonne che un tempo la decoravano; la strada principale è costellata di negozietti di souvenir, ma tutto è ancora molto affascinante, svoltate poi in una delle stradine a sinistra lì raggiungerete Palazzo Papalic, l’unico palazzo di costruzione gotica della città, aiuta davvero a capire come si è evoluta architettonicamente la città nel corso dei secoli. Continuate sul decumano principale e arrivate nel punto in cui si incrocia con il cardo, all’angolo si trova una sede della Splitska Banka (Banca di Spalato), sbirciate attraverso le vetrate, interessante vero? Gli impiegati lavorano tra mosaici romani e le antiche colonne del palazzo.

Proseguendo a destra, sul cardo, e poi entrando nella stradina a sinistra vi troverete nel cuore di quella che un tempo era la zona privata dell’imperatore. Questa prima parte era riservata alle funzioni religiose e alle cerimonie e qui sorgeva il tempio di Giove; lo riconoscerete facilmente dall’unica colonna rimasta che un tempo sorreggeva il portico e dalla sfinge fatta arrivare dall’Egitto: trasformato in battistero conserva ancora le pareti originali e l’antica cripta.

In origine il tempio sorgeva di fronte al mausoleo di Diocleziano, oggi invece solo una stradina si apre davanti a voi perché intanto sono stati costruiti palazzi che chiudono la vista, ma alla fine della stradina il mausoleo c’è ancora, trasformato nella Cattedrale della città, ma con le stesse forme e decorazioni. La strana forma, l’enorme cupola, le colonne che la circondano e soprattutto la sua storia rendono l’edificio praticamente unico; costruito successivamente, sorge di lato, il campanile: la scala in ferro non da un’enorme sicurezza, ma in cima il colpo d’occhio sull’intero centro storico è stupefacente. Davanti alla Cattedrale sorge la piazza che un tempo rappresentava il Peristilio del mausoleo, noi ne abbiamo approfittato e al fresco, sulle scale, ci siamo goduti una fresca birra croata.

Ora vi toccherà uscire dal palazzo, questa volta dalla porta posteriore: a destra del tempio scendete l’enorme scalone e vi troverete in quelli che un tempo erano i sotterranei del palazzo oggi trasformato in un mercato di souvenir. Uscite dalla porta bronzea, dove un tempo sorgeva il porticciolo privato del palazzo, ma che oggi affaccia sulla bella Riva; l’enorme lungomare che costeggia tutto il lato sul dell’antico palazzo e che oggi è il cuore della vita notturna della città.

Immagino che dopo il girovagare continuo si abbia voglia di un po’ di tranquillità e non c’è niente di meglio che una passeggiata fuori dal centro; alla fine della Riva, dopo aver attraversato piazza della Repubblica inoltratevi nel quartiere di Veli Varoš, uno dei più pittoreschi della città. Costruito sul pendio orientale della collina di Marjan, questo piccolo borgo, simbolo dei pescatori di Spalato, nacque durante il medioevo, oggi è una zona pittoresca da attraversare più volte, facendo su è giù tra i vicoli, fino al belvedere, dove lo sguardo spazia sui tetti fino ad arrivare alle montagne della Dinara. Che ne pensate di fare una sosta qui, in un ristorantino protetto dal sole e con bel balconcino sul panorama?

Quando decidete di ritornare in centro fate un giro dal lato orientale delle mura, li l’enorme mercato Pazar espone i suoi prodotti a qualsiasi ora del giorno; frutta e verdura la fanno da padroni, ma ormai potrete trovare qualsiasi cosa: vestiti, cappelli, trolley di qualsiasi dimensione, maglie da calcio, souvenir, oggetti per la casa e in un angolo anche francobolli e monete della Jugoslavia e una serie di cimeli direttamente dal Secolo Breve e dai terribili giorni delle guerre balcaniche: elmetti, borracce, vecchi passaporti del periodo di Tito, maschere anti-gas. Come alternativa più che valida al mercato di Pazar o comunque per completare il pomeriggio, fate una capatina alla spiaggia di Bacvice, una delle poche sabbiose dell’intera costa, forse un po’ affollata nei mesi caldi, ma con un bel po’ di baretti in cui godersi un aperitivo al tramonto.

E di sera? Il mio consiglio, soprattutto se avete un’auto a disposizione, è quello di spostarsi a 20 km da Spalato, su una piccola isola naturale patrimonio dell’Unesco: Trogir. Prima greca, poi romana, Trogir attualmente conserva l’antico impianto medievale, con le case, le mura e le torri del castello, tutto fermo al 1123, anno in cui la città si spopolò dopo un attacco dei pirati Saraceni.

A primo impatto il piccolo borgo magari non affascina, per il gran traffico e i numerosi turisti che affollano i ristoranti, ma se non vi lasciate scoraggiare e siete un po’ furbi infilatevi nei vicoletti più bui e silenziosi; lì troverete un paesino tranquillo, magari qualche ristorantino più economico e “casalingo”, le signore che lavorano e preparano la lavanda e sicuramente l’atmosfera che cercavate.

Il secondo giorno a Spalato non c’è niente di meglio che dirigersi con un traghetto di linea verso una delle isole che costellano la sua costa. Noi abbiamo scelto Brač, forse la più famosa, ma decisamente molto affascinante: la destinazione più visitata è la spiaggia di Bol, la famosa lingua di sabbia che cambia dimensione e posizione a seconda del vento e delle maree. Questo lembo di sabbia è decisamente affollato, ma se avete l’occasione approfittatene per godervi lo spettacolo che, grazie al mare e al vento, offrono le numerose vele di kytesurf; inoltre per i più temerari qui è possibile anche farsi fare un massaggio all’ombra della pineta.

Le altre spiagge dell’isola sono decisamente più tranquille: il villaggio di Škrip, il più antico insediamento dell’isola e il porto di Milna, villaggio incontaminato di pescatori, stranamente tranquillo per la bellezza del posto, sorge in un profondo porto naturale usato anche da Diocleziano durante le navigazioni da Spalato. Un’isola da girare e scoprire, con le sue innumerevoli calette e sentieri che portano al mare.

Spalato la scopriamo in questi due giorni, pronti poi ad attraversare il confine, direzione Bosnia, il cuore pulsante dei Balcani.

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