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Slovenia Off The Beaten Path: 165 reviews and 223 photos
Nace’s house is a beautiful wooden farm building located in the quiet nearby southern suburb of Puštal and takes about 10 minutes to walk to from Mestni trg. It is one of the oldest wooden houses left standing in Slovenia and as such has become a museum and a monument of the Slovene cultural legacy of national interest. The oldest part is the lower stone storey which is believed to date from the 16th century whilst it’s most eye-catching feature is the baroque wooden upper storey and roof which date from 1755. The floor plan is typical of an Alpine house. On the ground floor there is a hall, “black” kitchen, wooden lower house, a small room and a granary. An almost identical ground plan is repeated on the upper floor, where along the main and front façades, the house is encircled by a promenade balcony with a decorated railing.
Directions: Walk south from Mestni trg and cross river via wooden bridge. Then turn right and follow road round to the left. House is on the right. See second photo for map.
The parish church of Izola was built on top of a hill in 1547 and consecrated in 1553. It is built on the same location as a previous church that dated from 1356. Its façade is typically Romanesque whilst the lavish interior (restored in the early 1980’s) is Baroque and features 10 altars and an organ dating from 1796. The separate bell tower (campanile in Italian) was built in 1585 and renovated in 1889. It features 4 Italian bells and it is not possible to climb up to the top which is a shame as the views would be quite wonderful.
This is Izola’s most beautiful building. It was built in late-Baroque/Rococo style between 1775 and 1781 by the builder F. Dongetti. The mansion has beautiful windows and balconies that are adorned with stuccos and wrought-iron grills painted light blue. It’s said to be the most secular Rococo house in Slovenia.
Izola’s marina is huge for the size of the town and is probably the largest in Slovenia. It’s located at the western end of the town and has over 600 berths for vessels that are up to 30m in length. The whole marina complex also contains tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a shopping centre, bars, a casino, restaurants, and a nautical equipment store. It all makes for a very nice walk round where you can watch people washing their boats and the general goings on of daily nautical life.
The town in the distance taken from the marina
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.
Puštal’s Castle is a rather rustic looking building just over the river from Skofja Loka.It was built in the year 1220 and was inhabited by the family of Puštal’s lordship, the Burgstal’s. In the beginning of the 17th century the property of the castle was passed over to the Oblak family from Gorenja vas, who made their fortune from iron trading. In 1688, Emperor Leopold granted to Mark Oblak, at that time the town judge of Škofja Loka, the nobility title with the attribution "von Wolkensberg”. His grandson Francis became a baron in 1753.
Today the castle looks like it’s slowly being renovated even though its chapel, built by the Oblak’s, looks a little rundown from the outside and was closed when I visited.
Directions: From southern end of Mestni trg, take the main road left and follow over the river. Castle is on the right by a bend.
Puštal is a small suburb that lies just south of Škofja Loka and can be reached by leaving the southern end of Mestni trg and walking down a road called Kopaliska Ulica. From here you can cross a wooden footbridge that is known as Devils footbridge. The views of the river are very picturesque as you can see a weir and houses near the river. Further on is Nace's House which has an 18th century baroque wooden upper storey on top of a 16th century stone lower storey. Puštal also has its own castle which was originally built in 1220 but today is looking a bit rustic. The whole village is very peaceful and quiet and makes for a nice small walk around. I've included a small map of how to get to Nace's House which is the village's main attraction.
I decided to walk back to Bled from Vintgar Gorge which is quite a trek up and over Hom, a hill which stands at 834m above sea level. On top of the hill stands this beautiful little pilgrimage church dedicated to St Catherine. It was built around the year 1400, whilst its masonry portico and frescoes date from the beginning of the 16th century. The main feature of the church is its fortified wall that dates from the 15th century and encircles the entire church. It is possible to go right up to the church but I couldn't enter inside as it was locked.
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