A Tower of Love with a View of 50 Shades of Blue

A Tower of Love with a View of 50 Shades of Blue

Close your eyes and picture a Mediterranean forest, lush, green, full of intoxicating smells and life. All done? Great. Now picture a turquoise sea surrounding that forest, inviting you for a swim, a dive, or just a relaxing moment on the beach. Got it? Excellent.

 

What you just pictured is the island of Silba, about 15 square kilometres of earthly paradise in the Adriatic Sea. It is also called “the gate to Dalmatia”, and in addition to its beautiful nature, it is also special in that it is as a pedestrian-friendly island. There are no cars or motorcycles; only a few tractors used to supply the local stores. This is why locals and tourists can only use trailers for transport, or karići as they are called here, which have become a kind of trademark of the island.

 

Walking around the streets of the only town on Silba will enchant you every single time. Laughter ringing through the narrow streets, the smell of salsa wafting through the air like a culinary Morse code, the zen atmosphere where time seems to flow differently; a little more slowly, calmly and humanely. Silba will win you over like an old charmer, without you even noticing.

 

In the centre of the small town stands a tall, elegant structure, watching over everyone like a caring older sister. The people of Silba call it the Tower of Love or Marinić tower (Toranj ljubavi or Marinićeva toreta). It is a narrow, round tower, whose outer staircase leads to a platform offering views of 50 shades of the intoxicating Adriatic blue. 

In addition to the view that looks as if it were made for posting on social media, this tower also represents a monument to a love story told by generations of people on Silba.

Silba – an Island That Celebrates Love with a Monument

In the 19th century, two people by the names of Petar Marinić and Antonija Mauro fell in love. They were young, beautiful, and full of plans for their future together. As Petar was a sailor, Antonija waited for him expectantly every time he returned from sea. Before setting out on one of his voyages, he made a vow to her: “We’ll get married when I return, plant a garden around our house, and build a tower in the garden to look out to the sea and the island,” followed by a kiss and a goodbye.

 

As the years went by, Petar came to know all of the harshness of the cold seas, from the Americas to Australia. At the same time, Antonija was feeling the crushing wave of loneliness. In the end, she got tired of waiting and married another man.

 

After 20 years of sailing the world’s oceans, Petar finally returned to his native island. He was no longer an ordinary sailor, but a true sea dog, who attracted the interest of a lot of girls upon his return. But his Antonija was not one of them. His attention was drawn to a child who bore a striking resemblance to his old flame. His friends told him it was Antonija’s daughter, Domenika, so Petar knelt before her and told her: “Antonija didn’t wait for me, and since I wasn’t able to marry the mother, I shall marry the daughter. I will wait for the child to become a woman.”

 

Petar waited patiently for 20 years, almost as long as he spent sailing the seas. When he married Domenika, he built a tower in his garden, fulfilling the promise he once made to her mother. The tower still bears the following inscription: “This tower was built in 1872 as a symbol of love and loyalty. It was built by the old sea dog Petar Marinić.”