Instead visiting the overcrowded island of Hvar, visit the walled medieval settlement of Korcula on the Adriatic island of Korcula, which is said to be the birthplace of Marco Polo. Korcula is more of a day-trip destination, which means that by dusk, the tourist throngs have thinned significantly, allowing those who stay to relax in cafés and explore the small alleyways. Split has the only downtown cut from the carcass of an ancient Roman palace. While every old city in Europe has an Old City historic area, Split has the only downtown carved from the corpse of an ancient Roman palace. When the Roman Empire was divided in two in A.D. 305, the emperor Diocletian erected a luxurious mansion on the Croatian coast to live out his days as the ruler of the empire's eastern half. The remains of his massive complex have been inhabited by people, the structures converted into medieval town dwellings, and the emperor's burial changed into the cathedral in the 1,700 years following.