After leaving the family in Karlovac, we headed south west to the Istrian cities of Pula and Rovinj.
Pula is the largest city in Istria and home to a lot of history. It has been ruled by the Romans, Venetians, Byzantines, the Franks, the Hapsburgs, the Austro-Hungarian empire and even the French through Napoleon.
One of the many ancient sites to visit is the coliseum, also known as the Pula Arena. The arena was built during the Roman Empire (between 27BC-68AD) and is one of six surviving Roman arenas in the world. It is the only arena to still have 4 side towers intact and was used by the Romans for gladiator events. During the Venetian rule, there was a plan to move the arena from its current site to Venice but the cost to do this was too much and it now remains in Pula, used mainly for concerts.
Another piece of Roman history is the Temple of Augustus, built for the Emperor Augustus around 2BC to AD14. It was transformed from a temple into a church during the Byzantine empire and is now used to display Roman sculpture.
If Pula is a mecca for history, then Rovinj is a destination for relaxation & shopping. The cute little steep alley ways are filled with shops and stalls selling anything from art, glass, souvenirs & clothing. There is really nothing you won’t find in Rovinj. On the top of the hill, you can find the basilica of St Euphemia. Built over an existing church, it has a large bell tower 60 metres high which replicates St Mark’s basilica in Venice.
Our time in Rovinj was short and this blog does not do it justice. I recommend spending more than a few hours here. There is a reason it is the number 1 tourist destination in Croatia.