“Idyllic” doesn’t quite do justice to this place. Rovinj is every caricature of a Mediterranean coastal town you can conjure, yet still authentic and wonderful. Think little kids footing soccer balls down narrow cobblestone streets. A bustling fishing harbor that actually smells of fish, and sounds of vulgar, sometimes singing boatmen. Red motor scooters parked against ancient, crumbling apartments with cast-iron balconies. Gelato, olive oil, fresh seafood, wine, and a soaring bell tower. And it’s all compacted into a town of about 12,000 that you can walk in about an hour.
The main section of the town was once an island (it’s now a peninsula). Centuries ago, the seaward side of the outer row of homes was a fortified wall to defend against pirates and invaders. As the town grew more populated, and the threats diminished, residents built homes into the wall, then knocked out spaces between their houses to form narrow alleys. Their back doors (or front doors, I guess), quite literally open to the sea.
More photos tomorrow.