Piran is a Slovenian coastal town seemingly frozen in time. This gem of the Istrial peninsula was under Venetian empire for 500 years from the beginning of 13th century until 18th century. Today, you can still see the influence on the architecture as well as the culture of Piran.
How to reach Piran
Flight to Piran: Piran is too small to have an airport of its own, the nearest one is in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia.
Bus to Piran:Travel time between the two cities is about 2.5 hours which makes for Piran a popular day trip. Regular buses leave every hour from Ljubljana.
Getting around Piran
Piran is a small town and walk is ideal way to explore its hidden alleys. Outsiders are not allowed to bring in their car in the Old town. Parking is convenient and relatively cheap; from the parking area outside the town take the free shuttle service.
Piran Top Attractions
Built in 15th century the red building of Venetian house is a marvel of Gothic architecture. The highlight of the well preserved building is the gothic balcony. Look up and you will see the latin words Lassa pur dir, or “let them talk” marked between the two windows; directly above the inscription is a beautiful stone relief of a lion holding a flag by his mouth.
As the story goes the house was commissioned by a wealthy venetian merchant as a home for his lover, a local town girl. The girl was tormented when people started to gossip about the nature of their relationship. Merchant built the house and inscribed the words to show the town folks his love for the girl.
Tartini Square (Tartinijev trg)
Paved with white stones the oval shaped Tartini square sits right in the center of the old town. The summer evenings are particularly busy with live music and cheerful noise of knives cluttering against the ceramic plates. Statue of Giuseppe Tartini, the famous violinist from the city stands right in the center of the square. Great view of the harbor from this square which was once used as marina.
Undoubtedly the best views of the town and the coast line are up above from the town walls. The hike is steep and challenging with an endless number of stairs to climb. Peep through the lookouts on the walls, the way town folks once kept vigil.
The walk begins from Tartini Square, follow the signs to make your way up the hill. Be cautious of the stone stairways which can get slippery in the rain. Entry is through a gate but there is no admission fee (yipee!). The gate remains open between 8 AM to 9 PM in the summer. Binocular are also available for free. Enjoy the view of the town, a dense maze of houses with tiled roofs, narrow passageways, open courtyards and tiny squares.
Tip: start early in morning to beat the heat of the afternoon. Enjoy the magnificent views of Italian alps on clear days.
Church of St. George
Constructed in 13th century the church is dedicated to St. George who is the patron saint of the city of Piran. The church is located on a hill looking over the town and requires you to hike to get there.
Interiors of the church are simple but elegant. The beautifully painted frescoes are a work of baroque style redesigning done in early 17th century. Look out for the magnificent vaulted ceiling and a statue of St. George slaying the dragon.
Also, pay a visit to the treasury which holds items from Venetian era. The crypt is particularly interesting with a display of sections of Roman and pre-Roman parts of wall. The entry is through a museum and combined ticket costs €2.5
Climb up the old wooden stairs of the bell tower to enjoy the views, but be warned that passage to the top is narrow. From here you will be able to make out the different patterns of the tiled rooftops.
The entrance to the bell tower is €1.
Tip: Avoid climbing the tower around the hour as the loud sound of the bell is quite deafening. They ring every fifteen minutes but loudest is on the hour. Staying away from the bell is your next best option.
Hrastovlje Holy Trinity Church
The church famous for its frescos lies in a small village on the base of a hill. The landscape, surrounding hill with open fields and vineyards, alone makes it a worth day trip to pursue.
The church is rather to austere from outside but inside of the church is a real treat. if the church is closed call the caretaker whose no. is pasted on the entrance. For €3 you will get a tour of the church with a commentary on the biblical paintings which covers all most every nook and corner of this building – columns, ceiling, and even the floor.
This 15th century church is known for the famous painting Danse Macabre i.e. dancing dead, a brilliant piece which covers the entire wall. The painting depicts the finality of death, and the truth that we all stand equal before it, irrespective of our race, status etc.
Happy Traveling! Hope you have great fun!