Piran’s Venetian glory

After the storm of last night, this morning was a different day and a different light in which to view this gold nugget on Slovenia’s short coast. Piran is one of the best-preserved historical towns anywhere on the Adriatic – a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture. The Greeks and Romans developed the town as a port but its real importance came in the 13th century, when for five centuries Piran supplied its Venetian rulers with salt.

All right, the place could have more than a summer bustle to it, as a constant stream of cars and buses and ferries drop off visitors within the town’s pedestrianised cobbles and pathways but it is easy to lose them within the narrow, dark, enclosed, medieval streets. Then you can get hooked on the atmosphere within winding alleyways and on ancient steps. When I say narrow I mean narrow. There is hardly room to hold one arm out before scraping an elbow along ancient plaster, let alone swing a scraggy medieval, cat. Steps and stairways have been worn away by centuries of salted breezes and padded feet.

The main act of Piran has to be the pastel-toned, marble-paved Tartinijev Trg which used to be the inner harbour until it was filled in in 1894. The square is oval-shaped really and in the north corner stands the statue of the smartly dressed gentleman whose father was a famous local violinist and composer.

The walk up to the Cathedral of St George is hard work but well worth it. The cathedral, the bell tower and the baptistery next door provide an iconic backdrop to the town whether it is used from below up, or from top down.

Exploring away from Mr Tartinijlev takes the visitor through dark narrow alleyways where sunlight permeates more by luck than judgement. The sea is never far away, glimpsed through arches and cobbled walkways to the right and left.

The 1st May Square (I have no idea what happened on that day) has a delightful feel of ancient history with its pastel colours clinginging onto its flaking plaster.

The small Punta Lighthouse, from which Piran got its name in ancient times, still stands on the tip of the peninsula and is attached to the 13th century Church of St Clement.

20180815113933_IMG_5282Being so bowled over by this place I have let my images be your guide around Piran and provided only a short written commentary each time.

Just to say, that if you are anywhere near Piran, do make the effort to visit. It is magnificent.

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