1. Legend of Queen Teuta and her fort in Senjska bay
The history of Šolta island dates back all the way to Neolithic times but the first known legends are connected to the Illyrian tribe Delmati and the queen Teuta, who according to the legend had the castle above the Senjska bay, and its ramparts can still be seen. Her castle was called Mir (Peace) and it was place where one could find inner peace and strength. There is also a theory of the queen's hidden treasure in the area. Also locals are familiar with the legend - if fishermen would want to ask the queen something, they always needed to return the first catch of the day to the sea.
2. Olive oil making traditions - authentic Šoltanka olive tree
Šolta is an island famous for its olive trees and olive oil making traditions. The olive groves date back to the Ancient Greeks, and the Greeks are the ones who probably brought the olives from Greece. Based on several theories, wild olive trees could be found on the island even before the Greeks. The fact is Šolta has olive trees older than 1000 years. The olives are the only oily fruit which can be extracted manually without any special technology and therefore were essential part of nutrition centuries ago. The olive groves are owned by local families who dedicate their time to nurture and grow olives. Sometimes the groves are quite small and count around a dozen trees. The olive varieties that grow on Šolta are Oblica and authentic Šoltanka or Levantinka. The first does not require a lot of water while Šoltanka needs more water and fruitful soil in order to grow but gives a better crop. The harvest takes place from mid-October to the end of November. Every olive is handpicked, placed in basket and then cold processed in the olive mill. In order to have extra virgin oil, the earlier oil is processed the better the final product will be.
3. Wine making traditions – Indigenous wine variety – Dobričić
Šolta is home to a wine variety called Dobričić. It was almost extinct and then revitalised by passionate locals in 2005. Scientifically proven, Dobričić and Zinfandel aka Crljenak Kastelanski are parents of the most popular wine sort in Dalmatia – Plavac Mali. Dobričić is a dark red wine with a purple shine. It’s been on Šolta from ancient times. Dobričić is the main wine variety that grows on the island and is produced by local agricultural estates and vineyard owners. Locals on Šolta grow their vineyards in combination with olive groves as well as with several fig trees in order to keep the insects away. The grape harvest already starts at the end of August and stretches to mid September.
4. Honey making traditions
Šolta is well known for its honey, made from wild rosemary. Locally it is called Olintio and it has been in use since ancient times. There is written evidence about honey from Šolta and its healing attributes from the same period. Along with wine and olive oil making, beekeeping and honey production is one of the oldest traditions of the island. The beekeeping cooperative was founded in 1875 and even the French had a special committee working on evaluating the honey. The French, as well as the Italians, pronounced Šolta honey one of the best in the world. Nowadays there are several beekeepers and one of them offers workshops and honey extracting process presented to the public.
To see the honey extracting process, visit local beekeepers farm Tvrdić.
5. Šolta Gingerbread
Aromatic gingerbread cake has different variations and it can be often found on different Dalmatian islands. On Šolta, this tradition has existed for 500 years. The tradition of gingerbread making originates from women who prepared it for their sailor husbands who brought back home exotic spices required for flavouring the gingerbread. Gingerbread had the purpose of predicting weather conditions, or so they believed - when crispy the weather will be sunny while when tender the weather is rainy. The ingredients used in making of gingerbread are local ecological products like honey, extra virgin olive oil, carob and sherry.
6. Japjenice and limestone production
Šolta is an island with more than 600 traditional limestone houses. There is even a special way of building these settlements named after the island. In the past, Šolta was one of the main centres for lime production and these little houses were used as micro factories. Locals can even nowadays describe the lime production process and the use of Japjenice. Do not mistake them for bunje but note Šolta has both of them hidden throughout the countryside.
7. Martinis Marchi castle
The history of Martinis Marchi castle dates back to 1703 when the three Marchi brothers got permission from the Venetian authorities to build a tower, a village and a church above the bay of Maslinica. During that time pirate attacks were common and there was a need to build the stronghold. After the building of the castle, different peasant houses were built and finally the port was built in 19th century. Nowadays the castle is a heritage hotel and the brand Martinis Marchi is used for the marina and restaurant in Maslinica.