If you haven't been, go! I first visited when it was all Yugoslavia back in the 80's..just returned with my wife (who had never been there_ this spring. It exists in all it's raw nature glory..in one word..breathtaking! When it Italy, simply hop aboard a Jadrolinija Ferry in Ancona for an overnight sail to Zadar or Split..cost less than a $100 for a luxury cabin. Rent a car in either port city and explore..just explore...at a cost much less than Italy or any other western European country. The roads are very good and well maintained, little or no traffic except in the cities...
First stop: Plitvice (plit-vitch-ee) Lakes National Park...wow! What a sight! A serieds of crystal clean lakes cascading into each other with hundreds of waterfalls as a result. The lovely Hotel Jezero (lakes) is less than $100 with balcony views over the park and its lakes.
The other highlights are Zagreb, its capital (Old Europe at its best), Trogir, near the Spolit Airport, a UNESCO worl heritage town , completely restored inall its 15th century elegance, historic, intriguing Split (Spelato), enchanting Dubrovnik and its unique Old City (all restored since the '95 shellings),and all points in between including the off shore islands (Hvar, Krk, Rab, etc). You can fly, if you wish, one hour from Rome.
For any other details, like lodgings, restaurants, etc, please write.