Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Bale-Cassanova Connection

My first visit to Bale was in the dark.  We drove into the cramped square and gaped at the castle which rose like a Dickensian spectre, bathed in delicate golden light.  It was difficult to manoeuvre through those tiny cobblestone lanes in the dark, but we had seen enough to tempt us back during daylight hours.

In the healthy, rosy glow of sunshine, Bale was even more beautiful. Entering the 'old town' through a gorgeous castle arch accessed from the main square, we had a great view of the Romanesque church.

Built in the late 1800's, the church boasts a crypt dating to the 10th century.  Being Canadian, dates like these are so fascinating.  Here, we think buildings are old if they have made it to their nineties!  It was a welcome shift to enter so old and well-established a history as that which we had the chance to interact with on a daily basis.

The streets in Bale are romantically curved and quaint, rich with texture and arches and blue shutters and artistic doors.  It was a distinct delight to wander those avenues, taking in the very scent of times long forgotten as we trod those ancient cobblestones.

A plaque on one wall boasts a very famous visitor.  Dedicated to the famed Cassanova, it recounts the sordid tale of the lover's local conquests.  It is hard to imagine a more romantic setting for so determined a suitor!

In the Istrian peninsula, the Venetian architectural influence is very marked.  The castle at Bale is no exception.  Venetian-inspired windows and balconies are very common.

The area surrounding Bale is rife with olive groves and vineyards.
While driving by that day, we spotted a wild peacock in a field.  Every turn, every corner, brought new adventures, new experiences that I will always treasure.


  1. What a charming place! I love the stone buildings and cobblestone streets. Vineyards and olive trees and wild peacocks-it all sounds so magical.

    1. It is indeed charming- as are many, many rural villages in that area! My sister has a house in that area and there is so much to see that she has never even been to the other side of the coastline yet - in 3 years! A delightful and magical place to be explored over a lifetime...