Tony Kelly roams through the town’s labyrinth of cobbled, winding streets lined with galleries, artists’ studios, boutiques, tucked away restaurants and cafes, and a grand Venetian campanile.
It is a summer evening by the harbour in Rovinj, on Istria's west coast. Fashionably dressed couples are strolling along the promenade, or sipping macchiato and eating ice-cream at waterfront cafés. In the narrow streets of the old town, artists set up their work at open-air galleries on the steps leading up to the church. As the sun goes down over the Adriatic, the terrace bars start to fill up with the buzz of conversation and the clink of glasses as people come out of their houses to enjoy chilled Istrian malvazija beside the sea.
If a beauty contest were held among Croatia's coastal resorts, then Rovinj would win every time. This ravishing Mediterranean charmer is almost too pretty to be true, like a scene from a postcard or a stunning supermodel who turns out to be even more attractive close-up. Built on a rocky peninsula and surrounded by water on three sides, from offshore Rovinj appears as a jumble of stone houses which reach right down to the water's edge, their brightly coloured façades reflected in an impossibly blue sea. The entire scene is crowned by a striking Venetian campanile, rising above the rooftops and surrounded by tall cypress trees as it stands guard over the town.
With its chic trattorias and wine bars, Rovinj could easily be in Italy - which is hardly surprising as it was ruled by its near-neighbour Venice for 500 years and was...
The full article can be found on pages 16-24 of June/July issue.