Located on the most southern tip of the Istria peninsula, Pula has been variously occupied by the Romans, Italians, Austro-Hungarians, French, Austrians (again), Germans and Yugoslavs. Continental Croatia meets the Adriatic in Istria and the coast is extremely popular with sun seekers.
In fact, the coast has many of Croatia’s naturist campgrounds, resorts and beaches…. as a group, we’ve decided to ski those… I mean really, who brought that much sunscreen?
Pula is the largest city in the Istrian region. Mainly a port city, it’s where we’ll catch the jet boat ferry tomorrow for our day trip to Venice. But it’s the abundance of Roman architecture that really makes Pula worth visiting. There’s an extremely well preserved Roman amphitheatre (known locally as the Arena) in the heart of the city. Designed in the first century to hold 20,000 spectators, it’s no longer a venue for gladiator games, but now hosts outdoor concerts and festivals. To put the size into perspective, the entire population of Pula today is only 58,000.
The oldest part of the city, and the part we’d exploring, follows the Roman plan of streets circling the citadel… no easily followed grid plan here!
Today is Dad’s 70th birthday, and we’re celebrating with dinner at the alfresco Amfiteatre restaurant overlooking the Arena. What an amazing meal, and an amazing waiter. Clearly this man is a professional waiter and politely schooled us on every aspect of our meal, from where the ingredients came from to how it was prepared.
Local and fresh, I had a truffle pasta that he assured me was pasta made by old grannies! I didn’t see the old grannies at the restaurant, presumably they keep them in the basement…