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Things to Do in Piran

Terracotta-colored rooftops and brilliant white building facades line the streets of this picturesque city on the coast of Slovenia. Locals say this tiny town is among the nation’s most beautiful, and despite its small size, Piran is worthy of an entire day to explore.

Travelers can venture to Tartinijev, the oval-shaped town square, where white stones line the streets and a statue of a well-known violinist holds court over the lively public space. Architecture lovers will enjoy the square's oldest building, the Venetian House, which is known for its unique color as well as the inscription between the windows: ""Lassa pur dir,"" (""Let them talk"") which acted as a message from the Venetian merchant who had the house built for his mistress. 

The Sergej Masera Maritime Museum showcases exhibits that tell the story of Piran’s past, while the Church of St George stands as an impressive example of local religious architecture and offers impressive city and harbor views from atop the bell tower.
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Church of St. George (Piran Cathedral)
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The Church of St. George (Piran Cathedral) is a Roman Catholic church sitting high on a hill above the Slovenian port town of Piran on the Adriatic Coast. Considered one of the most impressive churches in Slovenia, it is also one of the most important landmarks in Piran, visible from Tartini Square in the center of town. Dating to the 14th century, it was reconstructed in the early 17th century in a Venetian Renaissance style. Around the same time, a bell tower was added that was modeled after St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice, followed a few years later by a Baroque style baptistery.

Visitors should look for two sculptures of St. George within the church, a larger one by an unknown artist and a smaller, silver plated sculpture made by a goldsmith workshop in Piran. Also of note are two large paintings from the early 17th century, several marble altars that were added in 1737 and interior frescoes that were restored in 2002-2005. The ground floor of the sacristy displays a variety of religious objects, as well as a wooden model representing an earlier version of the church. In front of the church is a large lawn that was once a graveyard. Today, it offers superb views over the Bay of Trieste and the town of Piran.

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Tartini Square (Tartinijev Trg)
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Piran’s Tartini Square (Tartinijev Trg) is one of the most impressive plazas in Slovenia, and that's not just because of its grand Venetian and neo-Renaissance surroundings. Originally outside city walls, the square first served as a fishing dock, and by the end of the 19th century, was completely overrun with sewage, prompting city officials to build the public square on top. Today, the pedestrian-only plaza sits between Piran's Town Hall and Court House, and serves as a scenic venue for concerts and events, as well as a popular meeting spot for city locals. Go for the people-watching or for excellent views of the surrounding hills, architecture, and Adriatic Sea.

Within the square, you'll see a 19th-century monument of the violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, for whom the square is named for, and two stone flag poles from the 15th century at either side of its entrance.

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Lipica
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Tucked almost on the border with Italy in Slovenia’s limestone karst landscape, Lipica is an ancient village best known for the stud farm that started breeding white Lipizzaner horses when the region was part of the Austrian Habsburg empire in the 16th century. The first brood mares and stallions were brought here from southern Spain in 1581 and although the stud has been relocated several times over the centuries – thanks to wars, earthquakes and changing national boundaries – the same Lipizzaner strain has been bred ever since.

A visit to Lipica Stud Farm encompasses guided tours of the historic estate, family-friendly “meet the horses” sessions, carriage rides (weather-dependent), seeing the horses in morning training and dressage performances by the stallions in the manège, while the Lipikum Museum showcases the backstory of the stud. For non-equine fans, the farm has a year-round nine-hole golf course.

Also to see in Lipica are mass graves dating from World War II, the Vilenica and UNESCO-listed Škocjan karst cave complexes and the ornate little Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Dolina Valley, which is now a popular Catholic pilgrimage point.

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