Hvar's diverse tourism season continued on May 15, 2012, with a themed evening from the past which caught most residents by surprise, as boutique tourism agency Hvar Tours and Suncani Hvar Hotels put on a splendid show of 17th Century culture for 150 guests from America, complete with period costumes, music, poetry and dance, before a fine banquet with entertainment in the Arsenal building, home to the oldest public theatre in Europe.
The evening's entertainment was conducted over three venues, each of which have played a part in the history of Hvar as a tourist destination. The Hvar Governor's announcer, complete with entourage of soldiers, arrived at the exclusive 1930s colonnade Bonj les Bains beach resort, among The Times' top twenty in Europe in 2010. He then escorted the guests to the centre of town for an address from 1612 governor Petar Semitecolo, played by current mayor, Pjerino Bebic, who caused some controversy earlier in the day by appearing in his period costume at the town council meeting - a fact which made the national media
within the hour.
The entourage moved to the San Marco terrace of Hotel Palace, Hvar's oldest hotel and home to the oldest organised tourism in Europe, with the founding of the Hvar Health Society in 1868. After a welcome drink and address from the mayor, guests listened to famous Benedictine chronicler, Father Vinko Pribojevic, who described the town for the guests, before some traditional dancing.
The final destination and the main event centre was the Arsenal, above which Semitecolo's theatre sits. Opened in 1612, it is the oldest public theatre in Europe and the guests were treated to a five-star banquet with accompanying entertainment, which included jugglers, artists playing with fire, and acrobats.
The 16th Century love poetry of Hanibal Lucic was recited, to be followed by the period ensemble Plazarius, from the city of Dubrovnik, who performed several works of Hvar's Baroque composer, Thomas Cecchini. The evening finished with the lights turned out and a spectacular fire display within the building.
The themed Renaissance evening was yet one more example of the diversity of Hvar's tourism, an island named as Lonely Planet's number 5 destination for 2012, and famous for its sun, beaches, nightlife and celebrity draw.