The Bronze Age excavations in the Kas locality and the ancient "castrum Vallis" are the witness to the thousands of years during which Bale and its immediate surroundings have been inhabited.
In the Middle Ages the town was surrounded by the strong city walls but not much of its construction survived. Only several churches and city houses survived, made of well known Istrian stone. Aswell as streets pavement which give a place in particularly charming look. Watch out if rainy day because such a pavement could be slippery.
After the town was nearly deserted it is nowadays again inhabited mostly by the people who have reconstructed this old houses into vaccational resorts. It is interesting to see the same spots snaped in 2003 and now in 2012.
The kaštel (castle) was originally called Soardo after the family of the same name who built it in the 15th century. It later became the property of of the Bembo family, by marriage, so that is why it has a dual name Soardo-Bembo.
Bale became the meeting place of palaeontologists in 1992, when the fossilized bones of the gigantic reptiles the dinosaurus were found in Kolone Bay.
There are inhabited and deserted houses in the town, underpasses, round streets, "portuni" (doorways), "baladur" (small covered terrace) and an occasional Venetian lion and feudal crest as a symbol of the inevitable passing of time.
The city gates and very characteristic Istrian type of underpass situated next to the Castle of Soardo-Bembo.
Right next to the gate there is a nice cafe-bar which offers drinks in the shadow of the medieval walls.
Instead of going down through the stair we used to come, a vaulted passage allows to leave the piazzetta and walk down to the circular street. It seems that under a high doorway was later built a smaller one as there are two vaults piled one on the other !
Between the church and the campanile, the piazzetta is an island on greenery with another cypress, cedar trees and oleander. That makes a pleasant contrast with the white stone face of the houses and of the church.
The campanile of Saint Julian church is on top of the hill, on the small piazzetta. Dark green cypresses, shaped as other campaniles, make a pleasant duplicate of the luminous stone white campanile. The campanile was built at the same time than the church, in 1880.
In the paved yard of a semi-abandoned house, there appears an old well. Grass grows so well that the paved yards would look almost like a lawn if it were trimmed ! Some have hard time growing a nice lawn, here, it grows alone between the pavements, without being watered !
On the piazzetta, in front of the church, everything is very quiet and people live more outside their house than inside. There are no car, no tourists. Wouldn't you like to be there ? Discreetly, not to disturb !
These stone stairs climb along Saint Julian church, and lead to the main entrance of the church, on a peaceful little piazzeta with old trees and flowers. You can also reach the piazetta by a street that turns around the church, on the right.
Saint Julian (San Zuian in dialect), the parochial church, was built in 1880 on the place of a previous Romanesque church built in the 9th century. A part of the crypt has been preserved and can be visited. Inside is a sarcophagi from the 8th century and a painting attributed to Matej Poncun.
Smaller passages connect the Grisa and the Kastel. The houses often spread out, people install chairs and tables right across the street and live in the street which is a place for communication between neighbors. It is very relaxing that no car can come here.
Most of the houses that are on the Grisa, are decorated with flowers. The plants grow either in pots or in full earth. Oleander is very common and always grow very well but various vines climb to the top of the houses.
The Grisa is a paved street that leads to the church. It's the name comes from the word "grisa", for "church" in the local Istrio-Romanian dialect. Amazingly, the word "grisa" is closer to the French "église" than to the Italian "chiesa" !