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The Toreta Tower on Silba Island: A Tale of Love

calendar iconSep 18, 2023

On the quaint island of Silba, history and legends intertwine seamlessly. One such legend revolves around the Toreta tower, or as the locals fondly call it, Marinić’s Tower or the Tower of Love. It stands tall not just as a structure but as a testimony to an enduring love story of a seafarer who left an indelible mark on the island and its inhabitants.

The Tale of Petar Marinić- the man behind the tower

Petar Marinić, a young sailor, was once deeply in love with a beautiful girl named Antonija Mauro. Antonija, with her radiant beauty and charm, would await Petar’s return from his long voyages. Before setting off on one such journey, Petar promised Antonija that upon his return, they would marry. He envisioned a house with a tower in the midst of a garden, from which the entire island and the sea would be visible. But destiny had other plans.

The base of the Toreta tower on Silba island
Looking from the base, the tower seems like a regular building, but once you start climbing, a wide panorama will start to appear

Petar’s voyage took much longer than expected. In those times, journeys across the sea weren’t counted in months but years. This extended absence of Petar’s took a toll on Antonija and Antonija married another man, Peter`s friend.

Upon Petar’s eventual return, instead of Antonija, he was greeted by a young girl, Domenika Rasol, who had an uncanny resemblance to his beloved. Domenika, Antonija’s daughter, captured Petar’s heart in an instant. Although he could not unite with his love, Petar found solace in her reflection, her daughter. He decided that if Antonija couldn’t be his, her daughter would.

The building of the Toreta Tower

Petar’s devotion knew no bounds. He waited two decades, watching Domenika blossom into a beautiful woman, reminiscent of her mother in her youth. Meanwhile, he fulfilled his promise and constructed the tower, Toreta, right in the centre of the island.

Made of stone, with external stairs winding to the top, Toreta was an architectural marvel. Antonija never set foot inside, but her daughter did, hand in hand with Petar, the man who was captivated by two generations of women from the same family. Their union was emblematic of love’s unpredictable paths.

Although there was an age difference of thirty years between the couple, their bond was strong. Domenika’s youthful energy combined with Petar’s mature wisdom created a harmonious balance. They went on to have nine children, a testament to their deep love and commitment.

Climbing on the Tower of Love
The winding staircase of the Toreta Tower will surely remind some guests of fabled towers in kid`s stories

By the tower stands a plaque that immortalizes their unique love story. It reads, “This tower was built in 1872 as a symbol of love and loyalty by the old sea wolf, Petar Marinić.”

Beyond the tower and the love it signifies, Petar’s life was filled with tales of passion, defiance, and adventure. Every stone of the tower, every whisper of the wind around it, seems to echo the maritime legend’s deep emotions.

After the tower…

The story does not end with the construction of the tower. Petar, on his return, not only changed the landscape of Silba but also its history. He adopted the name Pietro Marinich and became the chief of the island. His reign was marked by both accomplishments and controversies.

In one of the elections, Petar lost, but he refused to accept the results. He declined to hand over the keys to the town hall to his successor, leading to upheaval in the community. It’s believed that after this incident, he moved to Pula, though he frequented Zadar.

The view from the Toreta Tower
Once you find yourself on top of the tower, the spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape and sea will capture your attention nearly as much as the fascinating story of the tower itself

Petar’s life wasn’t without its superstitions. An old neighbour, out of jealousy or disdain, cursed him, saying he would die once he completed his villa’s construction. This led Petar to ensure that the villa was never fully completed. He also had threats of his grave being desecrated. Anticipating this, he etched a message on his tombstone: “Cursed be the one who touches these bones.”

Petar’s larger-than-life personality and his love stories are integral to Silba’s cultural fabric. His tale proves that love is not bound by time, age, or circumstances. It’s an emotion that can transcend generations and leave legacies that stand tall, much like Toreta.

The Marinić Tower today

Today, as you walk through Silba, you’re reminded of Petar’s enduring love. The tower, overlooking the vast sea, stands as a symbol of promises kept and dreams realized. It’s a testament to the resilience of love and the lengths to which one would go to honour a promise.

Petar’s story also serves as a reminder that love has many forms. While he couldn’t spend his life with Antonija, his love for her never waned. Instead, it found a new direction in Domenika. Their union wasn’t just a marriage; it was the coming together of past promises and future hopes.

The tower of love is one of the main attractions and selling points of Silba island for boat tours with Zadar Archipelago
During the summer months, the Toreta Tower becomes one of the main local points of interest on Silba island

The story of Toreta also highlights the ever-changing nature of life. It teaches us that even when our plans go awry, life has a way of presenting opportunities. Petar’s journey from a heartbroken sailor to a loving husband and a revered leader exemplifies this.

Explore Silba`s Toreta Tower  with Zadar Archipelago boat tours

Visitors to Silba today find solace in Toreta. Some see it as a beacon of hope, some as a monument of love, while others view it as a testament to the enduring spirit of mankind. Whatever one’s interpretation, it’s clear that Toreta, with its storied past, continues to touch hearts and inspire souls.

You too can become part of this story, by booking a day trip to Silba island with Zadar Archipelago boat tours; the local guides will reveal details and secrets surrounding this island and the many mysteries it holds.

So, the next time you’re on Silba, take a moment to climb Toreta. As you ascend the steps, think of Petar and his unwavering love. And when you reach the top, let the panoramic views envelop you, just as love enveloped Petar and Domenika.

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