Piran, the secret miniature Venice

Somewhere at the edge of the world, where the road ends and spills into the Adriatic Sea, you’ll find a charming little town. A place where dawns are caressed by the murmuring waves, the distant cries of seagulls and sunrays peeking curiously through the slits in the hotel room shutters. Walking to the window, I gaze across the beautiful vista of the Punta and the Tartini Square. Piran is waking up, peacefully and quietly. Morning bliss.

They say a good breakfast will keep you on your feet till dusk. Here, on the Slovenian coast, cuisine is a serious matter! The mouth-watering scent of fresh bread invites you to a genuine Mediterranean breakfast with a view of the sea … Kras prosciutto, juicy Istrian olives, home eggs from the nearby hills and kaki jam are just some of the fine aromas gracing the table, inviting the palate. Naturally, there’s more to eating than just what’s on the plate. The manner, the company and the surroundings matter, too. Food deserves enjoyment with all the senses, at a relaxed pace in true Mediterranean style.

It’s time to hop inside the time machine alongside the other “travellers”, venturing into the era of the Republic of Venice. A stroll down the cobbled lanes of Piran, where the foot gladly strays and the glance darts around in amazement, is simply a must! The picturesque stone, reminiscent of so many movie scenes, fascinates with Venetian-style buildings and the air of another time. At the corner of the Tartini you’re kindly greeted by one of Piran’s finest ladies, the Benečanka – the oldest preserved house on the Tartini Square, a charming example of Venetian-Gothic architecture. On the ground floor of Piran’s beauty you’ll witness the secrets of the local saltmaking tradition and the amazing salt of the Piran Salt Pans. Did you know it is favoured by culinary aces, like the famous Jamie Oliver and Ana Roš, World’s Best Female Chef?

Soon enough, we find ourselves on a lovely Mediterranean marketplace, a tiny whirlwind of colours, voices and enticing scents. A brief rest, then back on our way – to hunt for the lost violin of the renowned composer and violinist of Piran, Giuseppe Tartini. Our mission takes us past the stage of a young virtuoso, his strings sounding the melody of history. Just one of the many surprises along the way.

Let’s grab a ladle and roll up our sleeves, shall we! With select local ingredients picked moments ago on the marketplace, we prepare our own gourmet lunch under the guidance of a master chef. Mmmmmm … the scent of hearty food is in the air … A moment, perhaps, inspiring thoughts: “Such pleasure, such peace, the sensual experience of Piran. Life is great!”

On to the next stage! The conference part glides into a relaxed working afternoon in the old Tartini Theatre by the shimmering Adriatic. The plain front is in stark contrast to the fabulous interior, painted in frescoes, fragrant with noble wood and the whispers of great plays and classical concerts taking place throughout decades here in this hall. Next to the Portorož Auditorium, the Tartini Theatre is the most important cultural setting in the Municipality of Piran, a remarkable place to socialize and hold a variety of business meetings.

When the moon rises over the coastline and the day bows to the evening, it’s time for the enchanting Masquerade ball. An extraordinary event in Venetian style that comes with choice cuisine and premium wines, music and rhythm, a whirlwind of ambience veiled in mystery – a perfect mixture of Mediterranean sensations, the atmosphere of an unforgettable occasion.

May it ever seem like the maestro is strumming his song …

Good night, Piran.

– Anika Horvat

Mediterranean Slovenia thus offers, alongside its many other marvels, a journey into the past when time ran a slower, more genuine course. On top of authenticity, isn’t a pause from the frantic pace of modern life precisely what the planners and, not least, the attendees of business meetings are after? New digital paradigms flood us with ubiquitous new horizons. And yet, sometimes, it’s all just a little too much! We have to escape, revisit the first principles. Nature. The genuine charm of personal presence, face-to-face conversation and human warmth.

I leave the coast with delightful memories, including those of the Cipro wine, one of Slovenian Istria’s sweetest treats. The carefully selected experiences, attention to detail and personal note left a wow! impression in my mind that is certain to linger. Piran, once perhaps a popular summer residence of medieval Venetians, is a special place indeed. A perfect fit for your next business meeting.

Sounds curious? Follow “4 by 4 Slovenia” at www.slovenia-convention.com.

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Written by: Jasna Jašič, Marketing & Communications Manager, Slovenian Convention Bureau

Photo: M. Kambič, www.slovenia.info