Izola - Forgotten town on the Adriatic
Izola, (or Isola meaning island in Italian, as it once was an island), is located on the coast of Slovenia between Koper and Piran. It was occupied by the Romans, (who named their settlement Haliaetum), at Simon’s Bay just along the coast from today’s Old Town. The town flourished under the Venetians in the Middle Ages thanks to its trade in olives, fish and wine and a town wall was built around the island. However, a devastating plague in the 16th century all but ended its trading routes and the town lost its economic base. The French came along under Napoleon in the 19th century, tore down the walls and filled in the estuary to make the island part of the mainland and also destroyed several old churches and houses for good measure. The town hasn’t really recovered since and because of this, it isn’t a big tourist destination. But there are a few nice things to see such as the parish church of St Maurus and its bell tower, the large marina and a Rococo gem in the form of the Besenghi degli Ughi Palace – the best example you can find in Slovenia. I visited Izola one morning and also had lunch here before heading back to where I was staying in Koper in the afternoon in order to travel on to Trieste. The old town medieval centre is a lot smaller than its neighbours and so doesn’t need more than 2-3 hours to walk around.