While Split is a pretty well sprawling city, the old town is dominated by the complex of Diocletian’s Palace. Medieval and newer structures have grown up and over the ruins of the 4th century CE Roman palace, creating a city that architects, urban planners, and trite writers like to refer to as a living organism while overusing words like dynamic or changing. It can’t change that much– it is over 1500 years old!
Regardless, it’s super cool, even if it’s not a living, breathing city-monster. And while popular, it’s not as packed as Dubrovnik. It seems like Split/Dubrovnik shares the same dichotomy as Rome/Florence. The little city is achingly picturesque and therefore is being crushed by its own appeal, while the larger city–grander, but less obviously lovely–absorbs its admirers better. I’ve always observed that there’s a pretty sharp divide between people who prefer Rome or Florence– people often like them both, but it seems there’s always a clear winner– perhaps Split and Dubrovnik are the same way.
For me, hands down, I prefer Split (and Rome for that matter). Who could not prefer a city that has a colossal statue of a bishop that looks like a wizard?? Gregory of Nin’s sculpture beats the pants off of classical nudes any day (pun intended, ha!)