The treasure that dominates Rovinj is the church of Saint Euphemia perched on its hilltop location in the middle of town. Built in 1736, it’s the largest Baroque building in Istria.
Rovinj’s patron saint was tortured for her Christian faith by Emperor Diocletian before being thrown to the lions in 304 AD. According to legend, the body disappeared one dark, stormy night only to appear off the coast of Rovinj in a boat. The townspeople were unable to budge the heavy sarcophagus until a boy appeared with two calves and moved it to the top of the hill where it still sits in the church.
St Euphemia’s marble sarcophagus is behind the right altar and on the anniversary of her martyrdom (16 September), Rovinj takes on a festival atmosphere with parades and market stalls set up around the Old Town.
Modeled on the belfry of St Mark’s in Venice, the 60m bell tower is topped by a copper statue of Euphemia, which shows the direction of the wind by turning on a spindle.
You can climb the tower (to the left of the altar) for 15KN. Remember – it’s a church not a beach club, entry is forbidden to people with bare shoulders, mini skirts or shorts.
A wonderful drinking spot is Mediterraneo Bar which gives you access to the rocks and hence fantastic views of the sea and the 14 green islands of the Rovinj archipelago – the most popular of which are Sveta Katarina (Saint Catherine Island) and Crveni Otok (Red Island), also known as Sveti Andrija.
Remember you can come here in the morning for a coffee or of course indulge in evening cocktails.