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Slovenia, Istria, the old town of Piran

Picture-perfect Piran, historic town rightfully favored by the Romans, the Franks, the Venetians and today's tourists


Piran is situated at the northwestern tip of the Istria peninsula, at the Mediterranean Bay of Trieste. From our hotel you could easily see the coastline with Trieste in Italy on the horizon. It is a truly picture perfect little town, but its history goes back to more violent ancient times as well.

In the time of the Roman empire, the inhabitants were not only fishermen and farmers, but also notorious pirates, who attacked Roman merchant ships around the ports on the opposite coast, like where now is Trieste, Mestre and Venice. In the 2nd century B.C. the Romans had enough and they added the Istrian peninsula to their empire. When the Roman empire started to fall apart by the invasions of tribes from the East, Piran was fortified and remained one of the crucial defense strongholds of the Romans.

From the 13th through 18th century, Piran was part of the Venice empire, with some local autonomy. It was a port, although not as important as Venice itself. In 1558 A.D. the plague broke out and eradicated two thirds of the population. When the Austrians took parts of Slovenia and northeastern Italy, they developed the port of Trieste, which negatively impacted Piran's importance in the 18th and 19th century. Yet, the lay-out of the town and the architecture of the buildings, even today, make a very Italian/Venetian impression.


In the Napoleontic period, to be precise in 1812, a mini-battle was fought in the Bay, between an English and a French ship. The French ship had been newly built but the British ship prevented it from leaving the harbor of Venice. Under fog they tried to escape anyway, but this turned out to be a bad idea. A five hour sea battle followed and the French ship lost it, at the cost of half of its crew. Apart from the ancient pirate activities, this is the only battle that has taken place in Slovenian sea territory.

Like many parts of Slovenia, Piran also has been occupied alternatingly by the Austrian-Hungarians, and the Italians. But unlike cities in the North, the influence of the Italians has been more important here, especially because the Italians got it back after the First World War. After the Second World War it eventually became part of Yugoslavia, which made many of the inhabitants decide to move to Italy. In 1991 it became part of the then established country Slovenia.


The town is mostly at sea level, although the north part is a steep cliff with the St. George church built on it. The cliff is a kind of natural fortification and offers stunning views of the sunset, and a great overlook at the lower city, with the Tartini Square as one of its center points. The upper and lower cities are connected by a maze of very narrow, steep streets and alleys, as well as shortcuts by stairs. On the north side of the St. George church, outside of the fortification wall, a paved path leads along the water to the bay where we stayed.

large_6piran13.jpglarge_6piran15.jpglarge_6piran04.jpgSlovenia, Istria, Piran - beer colder than your ex's heart <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_wink.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=';)' title='' />

Slovenia, Istria, Piran - beer colder than your ex's heart ;)

We enjoyed our stay very much, and can surely recommend to choose Piran as a stop on your road trip for a few nights.

Posted by westwind57 17:25 Archived in Slovenia Tagged venice road_trip history trieste wine italian mediterranean slovenia istria romans piran tartini st._george

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