Kaštel Lukšić Tells the Croatian Legend of Tragic Love

A legend from the second half of the 17th century tells of the tragic love of two young people from Kaštel Lukšić. A daughter, Dobrila, was born to the noble Vitturi family, and a son Miljenko to the Rušinić family. The two later fell in love, but their relationship was forbidden due to hostilities between their families. From the moment their parents learned of their love, Dobrila was under strict supervision, while Miljenko was sent to Venice by his parents. However, this was not the end of it. Dobrila’s father arranged that she marry an older noble from Trogir. Miljenko learned about this and arrived at the very moment that the bride and groom were saying their vows, he appeared and stopped the wedding. In order to punish her for the shame that she had brought him, Dobrila’s father sent her to a convent in Trogir and, to keep Miljenko from finding her, he ordered Miljenko’s death.kastelaHowever, Miljenko was clever (disguising himself as a friar) and the plan failed. In attempting to find Dobrila, Miljenko came into conflict with the law and was therefore sentenced to prison in Visovac. There he met a nurse and through her, sent messages to Dobrila and planned his escape. When the two ran off, Dobrila’s parents were forced to give in, and they sent a message that the two return to Kaštel Lukšić so that they could be married. After the wedding was held in August 1690, Dobrila’s father, unable to come to terms with the fact that his daughter had married Miljenko, killed his new son-in-law on the bridge before the castle. Dobrila lost her mind, fell in and died soon afterwards. Her final wish was to be buried together with Miljenko in the Chapel of St. John in Kaštel Lukšić opposite the castle. The inscription “Peace to the lovers” stands forever on their grave, while both castles, of the Vitturi and Rušinić families, still stand in Kaštel today.

Courtesy of Croatian Tourist Board
Courtesy of Croatian Tourist Board

The fate of the two young lovers has inspired: novels, an opera and a theatre play, while the children’s home in Kaštel Lukšić, situated near their final resting site, bears the name Miljenko and Dobrila.

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