Diocletian's Palace in Split has had a fascinating 1,700 history since housing a Roman Emperor's retirement. It also has some rather unique modern surprises.
With tourism on the Dalmatian coast booming, and Croatia's entry into the EU due on July 1 next year, the city of Split is becoming one of the most interesting destinations for an accessible weekend break from major European cities. Digital Journal spent the day on December 7, 2012, walking around the historic Diocletian's Palace - built as a retirement home for the Roman Emperor of the same name 1,700 years ago - discovering the secrets of the palace.
While the traditional attractions of the Dalmatian capital - the palace itself, and its gateway to the tourist islands of Hvar, Brac, Vis and Solta are reasonably well known - Split's diverse offer of activities, heritage, culture and gastronomy is encouraging tourists to spend more time in the city itself.
Nadalina's popularity with Japanese tourists is evident from the shop sign, which is in English and Japanese.
With its warren of back streets and small squares, it is easy to get lost in the charm and the history of the palace itself, but there are more intriguing modern stories which are helping to bring the city's tourism to life, such as the Nadalina chocolate store, complete with welcoming sign in Japanese, testament to a rather unlikely obsession the Japanese seem to have with the store, which makes high quality hand-made chocolates and pralines.
The story of the musical chocolate has been widely reported in Japan.
The charming interior of the shop has a wide selection of chocolates, both flavours and shapes, and it is not hard to understand why the shop is successful and popular among foreign tourists. But the quality of the chocolate is only part of the story...
The world's first chocolate record, which plays on a gramophone?
One of the most intriguing shapes for sale is chocolate in the shape of a vinyl record. I complimented the saleswoman on the ingenuity of the design.
"But is also plays music," she replied with a smile. And it does, as I found out later searching for proof on the Internet when I got home.
The record is the brainchild of Nadalina owner Marinko Biskic, who decided to combine his love of music and chocolate, as he explained in an interview several months ago:
"I've had a band for a long time. We've recorded two songs and I made a record out of chocolate which can be played on a gramophone. It can hiss and screech, but everyone who remembers old records knows this is not unusual and many find it romantic. It can play up to 20 times, on a good gramophone".