From pirates to princes, Korcula has had many masters, all seeking to use this island to ease their passage along the Adriatic. The Greeks who first colonized the island in the 6th-century called it “Black Corfu” because of the thick forests. Mythology provides an earlier 12th-century BC founder, the Trojan hero, Antenor. Much of Korcula's architecture dates from the 15th and 16th centuries when the island was part of the Republic of Venice.
This morning's walk takes us from the ship to Old Town with its Venetian towers, 14th-century walls and fishbone layout, designed to take advantage of refreshing winds. Visit the impressive Cathedral of St Mark, which took over a century to erect, perched overlooking the town. Local stone masters left examples of their art in such details as the 15th-century lion portal, the island's boat wrights gave the main aisle the feel of a ship's interior and a splendid Tintoretto presides behind the altar. The tour also visits the 14th-century Bishop's Palace, where the art collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Tiepolo.
Next, at the 16th-century Gabrielli Palace, view the City Museum's array of Greek and Roman artifacts, as well as objects detailing the island's shipping history. Korcula lays claim to being the birthplace of Marco Polo in 1254, and our walk takes us by his family home. Some 22 centuries ago, when the island was a favorite resort for the Greeks, the writer Athenaios praised the local wine, so before sailing, why not try a sip of the island's crisp white wine at a nearby cafe?