For a town of barely 15,000 inhabitants, picturesque, waterfront Rovinj offers plenty to the visitor looking for something more than just a beach – although that’s available too. A street of artists, a museum of Old Masters, a panoramic cocktail bar and historic cycling trails are just a few of the many attractions.
St Euphemia’s Church
Built in the 1730s to house the remains of St Euphemia, a Christian fed to the lions by Diocletian in 303AD, this Baroque church centrepieces the Old Town, its bell tower a major landmark. The relics are kept in a Roman sarcophagus, while the statuary and other works of art inside date from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Rovinj’s central market, beside a car park just in from the seafront, stocks olive oils, grappas, and honeys, along with fresh produce in season, always handy for the beach. It’s also handy for souvenirs, ceramics, jewellery and paintings, usually only during the summer, and a wander around the adjoining fish market is an education in itself.
Running between the main square and St Euphemia’s Church, Grisia is more than just a sloping narrow street of boutiques displaying their wares – paintings, artisanal jewellery, sculpture – outside. Grisia is also a community of artists, which organises a day-long arts festival every August, when galleries and studios throw open their doors.
Rovinj Heritage Museum
The holdings at the Rovinj Heritage Museum number more than 35,000 but don’t let that put you off – what’s on display is only a fraction of the permanent collection. Highlights include finds from the Roman era, fascinating maritime paraphernalia and Old Masters from the mansion of Habsburg industrialist and art collector Baron Georg von Hütterot, who lived on nearby Red Island.