Posted by: viewfromtheriva | May 24, 2009

Six months and 1704 years later

It’s been a big week for us here in Split, our map of Diocletian’s Palace, which took six months of incredibly hard work, was finally published and is now being distributed–and our new website, was posted!

It still has a way to go, but we wanted to get some feedback, so please let us hear from you.  The  map, by the way, is downloadable from the Split page.

Having moved here after living in Russia for the past 9 years, I have to say it’s still pretty wonderful waking up and walking out to the terrace  be see our fig tree, pomegranate tree, lemon tree and veggies and flowers spilling out of their beds.

I visited Croatia three times before deciding to move here and I’m amazed that more people aren’t here from “away” (that’s the term folks used in the state of Maine where I lived for a while, to describe anyone who wasnt born there–even if they lived there for 50 years.  “Oh, so you’re from away?”).  I surely had some anxiety that the pace would be too slow, the city too small, the people a bit standoffish to someone from America with the audacity to expect that he could create a new map of the actual Diocletian’s Palace when no one had done so for centuries.

I was more than amazed when I called the head of the Split Tourist Board and asked for a meeting to discuss my idea when he said, “can you be hear in 15 minutes?”  “Make it 25,” I said, frantically putting one foot into my pants, finishing my coffee and zooming out the flat–only to be called back by my terrific wife Natasha who handed me my artwork sample and wished me good luck.

It took 22 minutes to get there, but Vedran greeted me like a friend, sat down, looked at my design and said, great–do it and we’ll support it.  Wow, and I thought Americans were efficient! With the help of Anja Rogulic, a young art history graduate and fellow Palace lover, lots of visits to museums and endless reams of tracing paper and sometimes twice daily walks through the Palace we came up with what we thought would work.

Working with a designer, however, was a reality check.  On paper, a lot of things look good.  Now try to get it into a workable, printable design!  Fortunately, we had the fabulous Mario Vrandecic,  who works at the Akvarij studio here (and is a wonderful illustrator when he isn’t bogged down with people like me in front of a monitor trying to get Corel and Photoshop to do the impossible.

With the ticker running at 150kn an hour, the pressure was on to be “efficient”…but like a good souffle, you can’t rush design.  Mario was patient as well well as creative, a rare combination.  I think being a vegetarian helped–not me, him.

Do let us know what you think when you see it. It’s at the tourist offices in the Palace and most of the shops.  We printed up 60,000 copies and of course they are free–paid for by the ads we sold.  And like the great reception we got from the Split Tourist Board, the reception from advertisers–especially considering our Croatian company was new and we didn’t speak the language–was terrific.

They quickly understood that the existing tourist board map of the Palace, the size of a large  postage stamp, was unfathomable to tourists–and with so few ads facing each side of my map, buying an ad that would be seen over and over again did make good sense.

It obviously helped that I have a 30 year background in marketing and advertising, but it was still a new project by a new company–so I hereby publicly thank Croatia Airlines, LeMerdien Lav Hotel, Spalatin Restaurant, Mestrovic Gallery, Olynthia Natura Olive Oil on Solta, Splitska Bank and DC Grupa real estate in Makarsaka for their support.

The view from the riva will blog every week or so… post will be on how an Amercian living in Split, whose childhood dream was to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers, found happiness in Split being an assistant coach for the oldest baseball team in Croatia.

Enjoy our new Croatian vacation portal

Read more about Croatia at secret dalmatia’s unique blog



  1. hey robert, got a quick view of this. good luck and keep the good work.
    greetings from barcelona!

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