Once the biggest settlement on the island (a status now enjoyed by Vela Luka), Blato was once an important agricultural centre, exporting its wine and olives throughout Central Europe. The vine-pest outbreaks of the 1920s put paid to Blato’s prosperity; thousands of locals emigrated to the Americas during the inter-war years. Nowadays, it’s a prosperous if rather sleepy-looking rural town, with a single, graceful tree-lined avenue running through the centre. Set amid the older parts of town just south of the main street, Blato’s parish church overlooks a lovely Renaissance loggia. Unusually, Blato’s streets have numbers instead of names.
Where to go in Blato...
Many of us have the odd family heirloom or domestic antique displayed at home, but few have amassed such an impressive collection as the Barilo family, owners and curators of this absorbing private museum. The Barilos have scoured the island to amass a riveting record of Korčulan life over the past hundred years or so – there's a living room stuffed with family photographs and reproduction prints, a pre-modern kitchen with traditional stove and homely textiles, and a bedroom decked out with examples of the kind of frilly nightgowns that people don't wear that often anymore At the end of the visit, you'll be offered local liqueurs in the parlour.
Just off the main road from Blato to Korčula Town (the turn-off is signed by a picture of a fat chef in a stripy vest), Mala Kapja is a working farm that raises most of the meat that it serves up in the kitchen. Expertly grilled or baked under a peka, the freshest of flesh is served up on an open terrace looking out towards Blato's fertile strip of farmland.