The Croatian Romeo and Juliette
The legend of Miljenko and Dobrila is a tragic story about two lovers from Kaštel Lukšić, who are often described as the Croatian Romeo and Juliet. The legend was used as a basis for a number of novels, operas and plays. The story dates from the second half of the 17th century, when two noble families lived in Kaštel Lukšić – the Vitturi family with their daughter Dobrila and the Rušinić family with their son Miljenko.
According to the legend, Miljenko and Dobrila fell in love, but they had to keep their relationship secret because of a long-lasting feud between their families. When their parents found out about their relationship, they decided to separate them. Miljenko was sent off to Venice, while Dobrila’s father arranged for her to marry a much older nobleman from Trogir. However, Miljenko found out about his plans and came back from Venice just in time to stop the wedding. As a result, he was banished from Kaštel Lukšić and Dobrila was sent to a convent. However, she escaped with the intention of being reunited with Miljenko and marrying him secretly. When Dobrila's father found out that she had escaped from the convent, he decided to bring her home at any cost. He sent a messenger to find the two lovers and to tell them that he would no longer oppose their marriage and that they could come home. The lovers accepted his proposal, returned to Kaštel Lukšić and got married. But when the wedding celebration was over, Dobrila’s father, consumed with rage, killed Miljenko. Several months later Dobrila died of sadness. Her only wish was to be buried next to Miljenko. Their grave can be found in the church of St. John in Kaštel Lukšić, and it is famous for the inscription ‘Rest in peace, lovers’.