Piran

One of the most beautiful and little known cities of Slovenia, the beautiful town of Piran lies just some sixteen kilometres from the port of Koper. It sits on a narrow peninsula, looking out over the sparkling Adriatic. Heavily influenced by centuries of Venetian occupation, the town today mainly derives its income from modern tourism.

The architecture is typically medieval Venetian, with huge tracts of Gothic influence visible almost everywhere. Surrounded by a long, curving wall, originally erected as a defence against the Ottoman Empire by the Venetians,  it seems to rise out of the very Adriatic, with winding cobbled lanes and narrow streets leading up to a central cluster that dominates the surrounding waterfront.

You should make a point of checking out Tartini Square, the centre that constitutes the very heart of Piran. Here, in the very middle, you’ll find a huge, bronze statue of the famous violinist that gave the square his name. It’s an idyllic little place for lunch, or just a simple coffee, and a little spot of people watching. The entire town looks and feels like a vast, open air viewing gallery.

You should also make time to check out the Church of St. George. This has a marvellous view from the top of the look out tower almost right across to Italy. This bell tower is a free standing structure; legend has it that it was modelled on the bell tower of St. Mark’s in Venice. The complex also includes a nearby, Franciscan monastery.

Next door is an octagonal, seventeenth century baptistery, complete with altars, and a second century Roman sarcophagus that the Venetians later used as a ceremonial baptismal font,

There is also an aquarium here that might be worth a few hours of your time in the unlikely event that the weather turns cloudy. You might also want to check out the Sergej Masera Maritime Museum, which features displays on the sea, sail making and salt industries that have been crucial to Piran’s existence over the centuries. You’ll find it located in the beautiful 19th century Gabrielli Palace, located on the waterfront.

Piran gets very busy in the summer, and most cruise ships either anchor offshore and tender passengers into the inner marina, or else they dock at the equally historic port of Koper, some sixteen kilometres away via a rail link. Because of the small size of the port, Piran tends not to attract the very large, modern resort ships.

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