Bale is a small town in the south west of Istria, 15 km from Rovinj and 20
km from Pula. The center of Bale is covered with stone paved roads and intricate alleys above which old medieval buildings
arise bounded by firm arcs and containing hidden stories.
Here, every stone whispers in a way that even the air appears
to talk. Bale`s history reveals secrets of ancient dinosaurs, holds legends of the old castrum from the Roman period and its
dazzling palace remembers Casanova and his lovers together with the lavish breath of the palace life.
lazily on the western inshore of Istria, on a hill named Mon Perin, parted from its long untouched coastline by olive trees,
vineyards and Mediterranean landscape.
The old part of the town is under a national preservation order due to its historical
and architectural values of sacred objects, such as the St.Julian`s church, which holds a sarcophagus from the 8th century,
the city gate, the circular stone paved streets and the buildings with elements of Venetian gothic and the refurbished palace
It is estimated that in and around this area, there are 400 species of butterflies, some of which are endangered
and, therefore, the name “City of butterflies” is often affiliated with Bale.
Bale`s long untouched coastline
is one of the most beautiful and cleanest on the western coast of Istria. Here, we find the ornithological reservation of
Palud, which is home to 217 types of birds.
In 1985, in the bay of Porto Colone, Italian divers emerged from the sea with the fossil remains of a dinosaur, which was
believed to be brachiosaur.
In 1992, Bale and its shoreline became famous once more when at least 10 varieties of dinosaur
bones were discovered in the bay of Porto Colone from the Mesozoic period (130 million years old). A herbivore Brachiosaurus
was included in the findings, which, measuring 10 meters high and between 20 m and 25 m long, was one of the largest dinosaurs
As a result of this discovery, which according to some sources positions Bale as one of the biggest dinosaur
habitats discovered in Europe, a paleontological museum is to be built in which the discovered fossils will be held and displayed
to the visitors of this unique little town
History of Bale
The history of Bale goes back a long way. The Illyrians (an Indo-European group of people who inhabited the western Balkans) were
the first to settle in the village. The Illyrians exploited Bale`s elevated position and soon fortified
the town. There is evidence of Bronze Age earthworks found on this location.
Historical documents, remains of Roman buildings,
bronze coins and other findings are evidence that Bale also held an important role as a Roman fort and during Roman rule the
city was know as Castrum Vallis. The Roman fort was built to help defend the saltpans and the roads that led to and from Pula
After the Byzantine government, the area came under the governance of the Lombards, followed by Pippin the
Short, and later, in 1332, by his son Charles the Great. Bale fell under the Venetian Republic. Austrian and French domination
Kaštel Bembo – Originally it belonged to the Soardo family. With the marrying of
Veronica Soardo to Alvise Bembo in 1618, the palace came under the possession of the Bembo family.
During one of the
many restorations, objects from the Bronze Age were found in its cellars.
Above the entrance doors of the palace, there
is a Venetian lion dating back to 1445 and a sundial, which was the emblem of the Bembo family. There are 3 layers and a dozen
towers that protect the town. The palace represents one of the greatest attractions of Bale and it is the centre of
all social activities in the town.
The gothic-renaissance frontage with quatrefoils and the central balcony have been
completely preserved. Today the Society of Italians uses the area for its cultural-artistic purposes and requirements. Town’s
loggia, town’s fotnico (wheat storage) and the praetorian palace from that medieval period even today still represent
the pearls of heritage which simply must be seen.
Sv.Julian parish church (St.Julian)
– The church, which is 36 meters high and was refurbished in 1856, is an immense building made up of white stone dating
from the 19th century and built on the remains of a 9th century basilica.
In the crypt and the church, there are many
artefacts and remains of the former buildings.
Some of the artefacts include a stone sarcophagus from the 8th century,
which is beautifully ornamented with a pre-Romanesque relief, a wooden Romanesque crucifixion, a statue of Mother of
God of Mon Perin from the 15th century and many other church valuables.
Church Sveti Duh (Holy Spirit)
– from the 15th century, its roof covered with the slate and the remains of the late gothic frescoes.
Sv.Antun Opat (St.Anthony the Abbey) – from the 14th century, with the ground plan in the form of a Latin
Church Sv.Ilija (St.Elias) – also called Concetta, is a pre-Romanesque building,
refurbished in the 14th century.
Sv.Marija mala and Sv.Marija velika (St.Mary little and St.Mary great)
– the remains of the church and the monastery of the same name.
– remains of the Roman villa and the church of Sv.Jakov (St.Jacob) from the 14th century.
Polo bay – remains of a Roman villa and the church of Sv.Pavle (St.Paul).
– ornithological reservation with recorded 217 types of birds. Some of them are very rare, making Palud a fountain of
exceptional delights for bird lovers.
Bale is a town of artists so, besides the gourmet specialties, it also offers many cultural events like jazz concerts and
various exhibits in a number of galleries.
Castrum Vallis – international painting
exhibit of prominent artists, takes place in July and August.
Bale`s night - a traditional
feast with songs, dance, folklore festival and local gourmet specialties, takes place on the first Saturday in August.
The Assumption of Mary – a holiday celebrated on the 15th of August.