Bale, an inland town in istria, croatia
The small hilltop Italianesque town of Bale is 15 km south and in-land from Rovinj. The centre piece (surprise) is the main church, St.Julian`s, which boasts a crypt with a sarcophagus from the 8th century. The tiny, 15th century Holy Spirit church has some wonderful frescoes. Bale has seen a lot of Venetian and Gothic history and recently, some community members have worked hard (with some finance from the governments of Croatia and Italy) to restore parts of the town especially Palace Soardo-Bembo.
The narrow streets circling St Julian’s contain four storey houses connected by cobbled streets. The doors, gates and windows carry the wear of years of opening to friends and family.
The restored Palace Bembo has an attic and 3 floors and as the street slopes, there is a mezzanine outside balcony for sitting and enjoying a wine and / or meals (good beer, wine and food is available on all levels). The lowest level is cool on a hot day whilst the views are amazing from the top. A Venetian balcony over-looks a square where concerts are presented; we were lucky to see performers at the International Guitar Festival.
This small town boasts a Dinosaur museum (and tourist centre). The Istrian coast and Islands have produced some amazing palaeontological finds.
Also, Bale is 7km from the coast and there is a bus service to the camping beach areas of San Polo and Colone with several km of pebble beach.