Slovenia – Piran

Piran is located on the coast of Slovenia by the Adriatic Sea.  It is one of the three major towns in the southwest coastal region known as Slovene Istria.  Once part of the Roman Empire in the 900s, Italian and Slovenian are the official languages for this area.  All signs are in both Slovenian and Italian.

We spent four nights here and honestly, it was too long for our liking.  Piran is a lovely village but we were able to see most of it in just a couple of hours of walking around.  There isn’t much for beaches in the area.  Most people lounged on the big boulders that appeared to be placed to protect the town from storm surges and what beach they did have, they were made of rocks and not sand.  We made the most of it by visiting a nearby village of Izola one day and taking a hike along through the Strunjan Nature Reserve on another day.

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This is an example of the boulders along the coastal path that people sat on when they were sunning themselves or after a swim in the ocean.

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One of the rocky beaches along the coastal path.

We were here during the first of July and the days were really hot and humid.  It wasn’t much fun to wander around until late afternoon.  If you sat in the shade and were able to catch a breeze off the water, it was a little more tolerable.

Piran is on the tip of the Slovene Istria.  There is a lovely walkway along the waterfront that connects Piran to a larger city, Portoroz in the southeast.  Portoroz has the larger resorts and spas.  We traveled through it on our way to Piran.  I am so glad we chose to stay in Piran.  Portoroz was more commercialized than what I prefer.  Piran has more charm and personality in my opinion.

 

Tartini Square the center of town.

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Tartini Square – the center of Piran!taken from the top of the Bell Tower.

There is so much Italian influence in this town.  I often felt as though I was wandering through an Italian village.  The center of town is Tartini Square.  This area was once an inner dock for smaller fishing boats.  During the Middle Ages, palaces and other important buildings were built around this dock.  However, it is where the sewerage for the village ended up and it would smell would be very disgusting.  In 1894, the town officials decided to build a proper town square and filled this area in.  New buildings were built around the square including the impressive Town Hall building.  The Benečanka building (the Venetian House) is the only building on the square that has its original Gothic facade from the 15th century.

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The Venetian House, the oldest building on Tartini Square.  It used to be painted red which would have made it really stand out.  I imagine though, it clashed with pastel buildings next to it, though.

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The pastel buildings next to the Venetian House in the square.  

From 1909 to 1953, there were trolleybuses and trams passing through the square to provide transportation to the other villages along the coast.  When the last tram was retired in 1953, the square was renovated and white marble replaced the tracks.  The statue of Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770) stands proudly over the square named after him. Tartini was a Baroque violinist and composer from Piran.

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Statue of Giuseppe Tartini with the Town Hall in the background.

A Fortified City

There has been a wall to protect the citizens of Piran since the 10th century.  The “newest” part of the wall was built from 1470 to 1533 when invasion by the Turks was a real threat.

Today, they are well-preserved and opened to the public for a small fee.  Since I had climbed the Bell Tower, I passed on going up on the wall.  Walking next to it was very impressive, though.

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View of the wall from the Bell Tower.

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View of Piran peninsula from near the wall.

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Walking along the wall.

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One of the three gates along the wall to enter into Piran.

The Port and Coastal Walkway

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Looking from Tartini Square out to the port.  The smaller boats are on the inner section and the larger boats were just inside the two lighthouses.

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Some of the boats that tried to come into the port were too large and docked out at sea or went to Portoroz.

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Two lighthouses at the entrance to Piran port.

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It is a working port as well…..

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I wonder if the fishermen sell fresh fish from their boats.  We were never around when they were coming in.

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Fishing was a past time in the early evenings……

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and chatting with friends.  Once the sun was further down on the horizon, the evenings were pleasant.

Along the ocean is a walkway that is lined with restaurants.  From early morning to late evening, people can be seen swimming in the ocean.  Strolling along the walkway is a lovely way to pass the evening.

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Looking from the port, you can see the awnings of the restaurants that line the coastal walkway.

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Close-up of Lady of Our Health Church at the point of Piran. It has been on this spot for a long time!  A structure was built here in 1274, it was redesigned in the Baroque style in 1776 – the year the US gained independence – Wow!

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Across from the Lady of our Health Church, are these two sculptures that some artistic person created.  A mermaid and dolphin in the waves!

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As I was clicking the photos of the sculptures, this seagull swooped very close to my head and landed next to me!  Very brazen!

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Continuing along the walkway, it is more of the same.

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Eventually, the walkway ended to this “beach.”

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This is from St George’s Church on the hill.  The coastal walkway continued on the other side of the church.  Below is the beach but you can see the walkway on the sloping hill.

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We eventually made it to the other side of St George’s church to see what this part of the coastal path was like.

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Looking back at St George’s Church and the Bell Tower

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We passed more rocky beaches and some stone sculptures…

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The water is so very clear everywhere in Slovenia and the clouds, on this day, were beautiful.

St George’s Parish Church, the Bell Tower and Bapistry

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St George’s Parish Church, the Bell Tower and Bapistry.  The Bell Tower, modeled after the San Marco Campanile in Venice, Italy, was built in 1608.  It is 152 ft (46.45 meters) tall.  For 1 euro, you can climb 146 steps to the top for an amazing view of the coast of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

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This beautiful glass sculpture of an angel watched over me as I ascended the stairs in the tower.

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Looking over the Adriatic Sea from the top of the Bell Tower.

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This painting was on display in the Baptistry.  I love the colors.  Homage to Carpparcio was done in 2018 by artist Mira Licen. Ms. Licen is originally from Pula, Croatia – about 1 1/2 hour from Piran.  She studied art in Ljubljana and eventually moves to Piran.

 

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St George’s Parish Church is a Catholic church built in the Venetian Renaissance style on the hill overlooking Piran.

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Inside St George’s Parrish Church.  You can look inside the church but can only enter it during mass.

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This is a close-up shot of St George slaying the dragon.

The Streets of Piran

Wandering through the narrow streets of Piran, you can see how it once used to be ruled by Venice.  I felt as though I was, once again, on the coast of Italy in one of my favorite places in the world….Cinque Terra.  The streets are lined with stone, some of the buildings are painted soft colors or have bright colored shutters and there were small chapels “tucked” into the various neighborhoods.  Occasionally, we would pass under an arch.  Here are some of my favorite “Kodak moments” throughout the town. fullsizeoutput_2e22fullsizeoutput_2cc7fullsizeoutput_2cd6IMG_7843IMG_7786fullsizeoutput_2cd3fullsizeoutput_2cc4fullsizeoutput_2cd4fullsizeoutput_2ccd

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A neighborhood chapel.

 

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The inside of the chapel.

 

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Another neighborhood church.

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Inside the small church.

Piran at Night

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Odds and Ends

 

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The ocean water was so crystal clear and such a lovely color of aqua!

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Visiting…..

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Hopeful!

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This was our favorite restaurant in Piran!  We ate here a couple of times.  The fish was so fresh and delicious!  It is Fritolin pri Cantini.  It is self-serve but there are waiters who bring you your beverage.  You place your order at the window…..

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After placing your order, you get a shell with a number on it.

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When your order is ready, they put a “fish” with the order number.  When you see your number, you go up and get the tray of food.

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Fresh grilled fish with kale and potato!  Yummy!

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This photo was inside the Fritolin pri Cantini Restaurant.  I could not believe the size of this bull! They said that these bulls are from only this area.  There are still some bulls as large as this one but there are not many left!  I am just amazed at this picture!

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Busking with a harp!  It was nice to sit by the ocean and listen to her soothing music!

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I read somewhere that it is a tradition for the young children to sell shells, like this little boy,  during the summer months.  There were about 5 or 6 of them selling shells on the night we were walking along the ocean.

Izola

As I mentioned earlier, we took an afternoon to visit the nearby city of Izola.  It was an easy bus ride of about 30 minutes to reach the town.  As we got closer, Izola looked much like Piran. The city was crowded on the peninsula, there was the church with a prominent bell tower and the marina.

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Izola with the marina

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A close-up of Izola

I was reading about the history of Izola and was surprised to learn that it used to be an island.  It was originally settled by Italians.  From 1805 to 1813, it was under Napolean’s rule.  During this time, the protective walls were torn down and used to fill in the channel that separated the island from the mainland.

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The church and bell tower in Izola.

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The park near the ocean.

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The walkway lined with restaurants and the marina.

After wandering around for the afternoon, we hopped the bus back to Piran.

I hope you enjoyed the “tour” of the Slovenian coast.  We were there in July and it was very hot and humid.  I imagine September is an excellent time to visit.  The children are back in school, the weather is a little cooler so you can the whole day outside without getting overheated!

Regardless of the time of year, I just hope that you get to visit the lovely and picturesque country of Slovenia.

May you be filled with joy and sparkles! ✨✨✨❤️✨✨✨

 

 

 

 

 

 

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