The Heritage of Hvar
The golden age of drama on Hvar lasted between 1516 and 1623 and was marked by three great Croatian dramatic poets and writers: Hanibal Lucić (Robinja – The Slave), Mikša Pelegrinović (Jeđupka – The Gipsy), Martin Benetović (Hvarkinja – The Lady of Hvar) and Marin Gazarović (Murat Gusar – Murat the Pirate). Mysteries, the predecessors of the modern drama, were given in the cathedral and the first literary dramas, like Lucić’s Robinja, most probably on the square (Pjaca) and in front of the loggia. The prince of Hvar Pietro Semitecolo, inspired by Italian court theatres of his age, adapted the space on the first floor of the old Arsenal building for theatrical use with the money of the commune of Hvar, thus establishing the oldest communal theatre in Europe in 1612. The newly-founded theatre started putting on plays written by Croatian artists.
Hanibal Lucić’s Summer Residence
Hanibal Lucić built his summer residence around 1530, close to the town and in a sophisticated Renaissance style. The summer residence consists of two buildings – the east building, elegant and with typical Renaissance features, and the west outbuilding. The large garden is framed by a promenade and the coats of arms of the Lucić and Gazarović families are placed on the crown of a well in the very centre of the garden.
The Franciscan monastery
Since the harbour of Hvar had saved many ships and crews, the commanders of vessels founded a Franciscan monastery on a peninsula near the town and financed the construction of the church of Our Lady of Grace in 1465. The noble families of Hvar offered a substantial financial aid and Hanibal Lucić’s father Antun Lucić donated 1000 gold coins to help the building. Hanibal Lucić’s grave is placed under the main altar in the church. Being a distinguished member of the Great Council, our first drama writer was the building supervisor for many years during the construction of the Franciscan church and monastery.
The Benedictine convent
The Benedictine convent and the church of Saint Anthony the Abbot are located in the same house where Hanibal Lucić was born in 1485. Julija, the widow of Hanibal’s illegitimate son Antun, bequeathed the family palace in Groda to Benedictine nuns, who converted it into a convent. The convent has preserved a kitchen from Lucić’s time, as well as a valuable collection of artworks.
Saint Mark’s church
The former church of a Dominican monastery, founded in the 14th century and dissolved during the French reign at the beginning of the 19th century, was used for the sessions of the Great Council (comprised of aristocrats from Hvar) for centuries. This is the reason why the building was swarming with altars and graves of noble families. Antun, the son of the poet Hanibal Lucić, ordered the construction of the altar dedicated to Saint Anthony the Abbot. Antun was buried in Saint Mark’s church.
The cathedral of Hvar, dedicated to Saint Stephen, was altered and added annexes for centuries. It was originally the church of the Benedictine monastery of Our Lady of Lesna and in the 13th century, when the bishop decided to replace his old residence in Stari Grad on Hvar with it, the church became a cathedral. It was damaged in the Turkish attack in 1571, when the building was still in progress. For years Hanibal Lucić was one of the ordinaries who managed the finances and the supplies needed for the construction of the cathedral.
The communal loggia (loggia communis) was first mentioned as early as in the 13th century and referred to again in the Statute of Hvar dating from the 14th century. The new loggia, one of the most beautiful Late Renaissance buildings in Dalmatia, was the work of the master Tripun Bokanić. It was finished in the late 16th century, during the reign of the governor (proveditore) Victor Diedo. Since he was a very ardent champion of the privileges accorded to the aristocracy of Hvar, Hanibal Lucić came into the high office of magistrate and defender of the commune of Hvar more than once in his lifetime.