On Friday, the Smith College Alumnae Chorus and our travelling companions visited Piran, a beautiful, historic town on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia. Slovenia, before its independence in 1991, had spent centuries under the dominance of other entities. Piran shows the influence of its time as part of the Venetian republic.

The main square has a statue of Italian composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, whose birthplace, now a historic landmark, is on the piazza.

As you would expect, some of the streets, now used as footpaths, are very narrow.

Consequently, the cars are very small by US standards. (For scale, I am 5’1.5″ or 156 cm.)

We walked up to the Church of St. George, shown here from Tartini Square.
St. George, Piran, Slovenia

The baptistry is the small, octagonal building whose roof you see to the right of the belltower, which is itself a smaller replica of the tower of St. Mark’s in Venice.

The restoration of the church is amazing! The wall on the left has a sculpture of St. George slaying the dragon.
St. George church, Piran, Slovenia

The ceilings were especially eye-catching.

Because I was an organist, B took a special photo of the organ.

A path leads down from the church to the point and lighthouse.

Piran affords views of the coast of Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Piran view of the Adriatic

We loved our visit to Piran and definitely recommend including it in your itinerary if you visit Slovenia.


The day after our visit to Lake Bled, we took a trip to Trieste, Italy, on the Adriatic Sea, not far from the Slovenian border. Even though we only had a few hours, I was looking forward to being in Italy, which is my maternal lineage’s homeland. Also, B had never been to Italy, so it was fun to add another country to his international list, which is substantially longer than mine due to business travel.

We first went to Saint Just Cathedral, a centuries-old church on the hill overlooking the city. While other cathedrals were remodeled as artistic styles changed, this one remains in the Romanesque style and incorporates some features salvaged from Roman Empire structures, as you can see in the tower.

On entering the cathedral, my eyes were immediately drawn to the magnificent – and vibrantly colored – mosaic over the main altar.

The ceiling over the nave was also interesting.
nave ceiling St Just - Trieste

To the left of the main altar, was this one with the Madonna and Child.

As one expects in old cathedrals, there were other small altars along the sides. I particularly liked the sunlight streaming into this beautifully painted one.

Painting detail:

Next, our amazingly skilled bus drivers took us down some narrow, twisting streets to  Trieste’s main piazza near the sea.  The square is surrounded by impressive palaces and government buildings. It is now called Piazza Unità d’Italia, a name it acquired a century ago when Trieste became part of Italy; it had previously been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Piazza contains the Fountain of the Four Continents. It was sculpted in the 1750’s representing the four continents known at that time: Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

We also visited the remains of a Roman amphitheater nearby. Dating from the first to second century of the Christian era, it was unearthed in 1938. There are still occasional concerts held at the site.

The unfortunate thing about our excursion to Trieste was that it was too brief. Perhaps, some day we will return.

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