The rainy weather as of late combined with a vicious flu bug has created one very stir crazy family. So, yesterday while the rain fell heavily we headed underground to explore the cellars of Diocletian’s Palace. For less than $10 we were granted access to the underground chambers of the palace. No one else seemed to be visiting that day, and the kids were able to scurry about creating as much chaos as they could muster without disapproving looks from other tourists.
While the kids burned off some extra energy we all gained greater insight into what the original palace might have looked like. The floor plan of the cellars is an exact mirror image of what was built on the first story. By walking underground you get an understanding of what Emperor Diocletian’s rooms looked like above. Over time the buildings above were converted and changed, but the architecture of the cellars remained for the most part unchanged. In the 1850’s the cellars were finally drained and cleaned (in the Middle Ages they were used as dumps) and many archaeological discoveries were made, including an olive oil press.
The basement level of Diocletian’s Palace is a wonderful maze of rooms just perfect for kids to explore. The entire middle section has been given over to various vendors selling souvenirs, jewelry, and paintings. However, the eastern and western sections remain just as they might have looked when the palace was first built. It was great fun to find secret passages, view the old plumbing system, and to look up to see the floor boards of the shops above. When walking around the top level of the palace you would never dream of the world that exists just below your feet. We definitely gained a much broader image of the palace as a whole, and found a great rainy day activity.