Did you know that one of the world's famous adventurers and explorers, Marco Polo, was most probably born on Korčula island?
Italian merchant and explorer, writer and adventurer, Marco Polo is one of the instantly recognizable names from the Medieval times, praised by some for its adventurous spirit and thirst for knowledge of the exotic Asian countries, disputed by others who claim that he wrote his books based on hearsay rather than on the actual experience of visiting places in Asia. And while it is certain that he was born in the Venetian Republic, there is also a strong possibility that he was born on Korčula, south Dalmatian island in Croatia that was a part of the Republic at that time.
The island of Korčula is located in the south Dalmatia, and was governed by Venetians in the Middle Ages and later centuries (not in continuity though, as history of Dalmatia has always been turbulent and unpredictable). Several Venetian sources cite that Marko Polo's family was from Dalmatia and the street and the part of town mentioned in those sources that belonged to a Polo family in the past matches the street and town part of Korčula town today. Moreover, the surname Polo is most probably of Slavic origin, as pol is Slavic (Croatian) word for a certain kind of bird. The very same bird is featured on Polo family coat of arms.
However, although the exact place of his birth will never be established with 100% certainty , today Marco Polo is associated with the island and town of Korčula, and there is an old stone house located in the above mentioned street that is called the birth house of this famous explorer and writer. The house did belong to Polo family, but there is no written confirmation that Marco was born there. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in Korčula strolling along its stone streets dotted with old houses and villas, don't forget to walk to the house which you can see if you go north from the Cathedral. It is a very interesting place and during summer months it is open for visits from 9 to 21h.
The house is not the only building associated with Marco Polo or named after him. If you decide to spend vacation on Korčula island, you'll see there is also Marco Polo Hotel, Marco Polo restaurants, Marco Polo accommodation village etc. Bearing in mind that this Venetian explorer is still known today all around the world and that his book, „Book of the Marvels of the World“ was the 3rd biggest selling in the world, it is no wonder that people form Korčula decided to use his name and image for branding and advertising of holiday homes, villas and the island itself.
Even if the life and history of Marco Polo and his family is of little interest to you, it is good to consider renting a holiday home on the island of Korčula for your next holiday as this gorgeous Mediterranean island is worth the visit and a perfect place for relaxing on the beach and enjoying sea views from a holiday property terrace. And once you're there, who knows, maybe the spirit of Marco Polo will ignite an adventurous spark inside you as well.