Piran. City in Slovenia, Europe


City in Slovenia, Europe

Prešernovo nabrežje Photo © someone10x

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Piran. Photo by Turistično združenje Portorož
Picturesque Piran is a tiny town in southwestern Slovenia. An old medieval town, located on the the tip of the peninsula (Wikipedia Article), is everyone’s favorite town on the Slovenian coast. A gem of Venetian-Gothic architecture has much more to offer than just history. The town is compact with charming medieval streets and rocky beaches. If you’re looking for sandy beaches it is suggested that you head east to Portorož, where you’ll also find more entertainment. Piran is home to a thriving community of around 20,000 people and thanks, perhaps, to the fact that it is largely pedestrianized, it has a busy, bustling feel with outdoor markets, busy cafes, and lots of excellent seafood restaurants. A coastal jewel and the birth place of the Italian violinist and composer, Giuseppe Tartini (Wikipedia Article), it is framed by the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea. The Old Town is a labyrinth of arched alleys and tightly packed ranks of houses, fantastic Venetian-inspired architecture and little churches. Every year, Piran changes into a live art venue during the well-known painting festival, Ex-Tempore. There are also many events with long-standing traditions, such as the festival of popular music, “The Melodies of the Sea and the Sun” and the “International Folklore Festival”. To spend some time actively, you can explore the Piran countryside, the vineyards and olive groves on the Istrian Hills by foot, by bicycle or on horseback. Piran, itself, is very small, and you’ll be able to get a good impression of what the town has to offer in about half a day, but you can easily spend several days soaking up the sun, swimming in the Adriatic sea and enjoying a leisurely drink at Tartini Square.

 - Piran
Piran. Photo by Bruno Girin


First detailed recordings of Piran go back to the 7th century AD. Piran was reported to be fortified by Byzantine town, intended to stand guard against Slavic newcomers in the area. The prosperity of Piran, as a city, began with the rise of Venice with whom they had signed a trade treaty in 933 AD. Since it had a good trade position and was also successful at harvesting salt, a precious item at the time, Piran started to gain power which led to a war with Venice in 1282 AD. After that, Piran was loyal to Venetian rule and enjoyed some time of relative peace and prosperity. In 1692, was born Piran's most well-known person, Giuseppe Tartini. His most famous work is the "Devil's Trill Sonata", a solo violin sonata. He died in 1770 and was buried in Padova. In 1797, was the end of Venetian era. First Napoleon and then Habsburg monarchy took over the rule over Piran which lasted until 1918. After World War I (Wikipedia Article), the city and the whole of Istria was captured by Italians and it stayed that way until the end of World War II (Wikipedia Article) when Piran and Istria joined Yugoslavia after the plebiscite. Since Slovenia vote for independence in 1991, Piran is a part of the Slovenian coastline.


Tartini Square -
Tartini Square - Piran. Photo by Reuben Dalke

Tartini Square & Statue of Giuseppe Tartini

Piran’s main public meeting point is the white marble, oval-shaped Tartini Square, which was the inner harbor until 1864 when it was filled in. It is named after the musician Giuseppe Tartini, and his bronze statue is located at its center. Traffic free, Tartinijev trg (Wikipedia Article) is the hub of Piran’s cafe culture and there can hardly be a more scenic spot to settle down for a coffee and some people watching.
Tartini was born in Piran on 8th April 1692. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth, “Maestro” was mounted on its pedestal. The monument is the work of the Venetian artist, Antonio dal Zotto. With its well-thought-out positioning, it dominates the square and forms a unified entity with St. George Cathedral, which dominates the town.

Tartini House

The Tartini House is one of the oldest of the houses encircling the square. Guiseppe Tartini was born here. The most interesting exhibits are the Death Mask, the Master’s Violin, the music score pages, the copper engraving depicting Tartini’s dreams and an oil portrait painting of Tartini. Among the manuscripts, the most interesting is a letter to a violinist, Tartini’s pupil, Maddalena Lombardini, in which Tartini explains the rules of the violin bow technique.

Old narrow streets - Piran
Old narrow streets - Piran. Photo by Kim S

Bell Tower

St. George Cathedral's freestanding Bell Tower, built in 1609, was clearly modeled on the campanile of San Marco in Venice and can be climbed daily for excellent views of the town and harbor. The Bell Tower (46.45 m), completed in the year 1608, is a smaller scale copy of San Marco Campanile in Venice, thus confirming that it was built during a period of Venetian influence in Piran.

Venetian House

At the intersection of the Street of the 9th Corps and Tartini Square, there is a charming red palace with its tracery windows and balcony in the northeast of the Square, one of the most beautiful examples of Venetian Gothic architecture in Piran. It was built in the middle of the 15th century and is the oldest preserved house on Tartini Square.

City Walls

Climbing the City Walls of Piran, with its seven towers for fabulous views over the city and the Adriatic Sea. The largest part of the preserved walls dates from the beginning of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century and became an integral part of the medieval town structure.

Food & Drink

From gourmet sea salt to world-class truffles and exquisite shellfish to succulent beef, this region offers countryside delicacies and Mediterranean specialties in equal abundance. The harbor-side area has a dozen, or so, excellent restaurants, all of which have great views; fish dishes dominate the menus but Balkan grill specialties are also popular and popular wine, Malvazija, is out of this world. If you like to enjoy a drink after your meal, it is suggested that you head on over to Tartini Square.


The nearby town of Portoroz has accommodations.




    Piran Marina -
    Piran Marina - Piran. Photo by Simonetta Di Zanutto

    Getting there & Around

    While there is no train station, there are regular bus services between Piran, Portoroz, Strunjan and the port of Koper, as well as to some of the neighboring resorts in Croatia. If you are arriving by car, don't try to negotiate the tiny lanes around the harbor. Instead, leave the car in the lot outside of town; the lot farthest out has the cheapest long-term rates. A shuttle bus will then take you into town. Be beware that fines are high for parking illegally.

    Piran has a car-free traffic policy and all the town is pedestrianized. But a town center and most places of interest can easily be reached on foot.

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    Author: Ayda. Last updated: Aug 23, 2014

    Pictures of Piran

    Piran Marina - Piran
    Piran Marina - Photo by Clemens Vasters


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