Stories from The Sea
Are you ready for a trip through the history of Izola? Follow the signposts all the way to the Ulica Alme Vivoda street, where you will be greeted by the blue Izolana - House of the sea. Read about Izola's colorful history and let the photos of Izola's harbour take you back to the post-war period. Discover the importance of shipbuilding and the shipyards that built wooden vessels up until the mid-20th century, and thus enabled fishing and contributed significantly to the economic development of the town.
Shipbuilding and Model Ship Building in Photographs
Nowadays, real ancient vessels are gone, and an important way of maintaining this tradition is model ship building – a skill that requires exploring, patience, precision, and perseverance. There are over 35 exhibited models of wooden sailboats and other vessels that used to sail along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, especially the shores of Izola, Piran, and Koper. Among the work of top designers (including Marcel Blažina and Mihael Huszer), you will also find world-class ships, such as Columbus's Santa Maria.
The maritime activities of the Istrians were already mentioned in the records of the pre-Roman inhabitants of Istria, the Histrians, and the Liburnians – skilful predators of ships that wandered into the northernmost part of the Mediterranean Sea.
Before you go to the first floor, remember in the courtyard that a few decades ago people travelled from the village into town on donkeys, and admire the people of Izola who used to sew fishing nets in the harbour of Izola.
Pietro Coppo's Famous Map of Istria
Right at the entrance, you can visit a memorial room dedicated to the cartographer and seafarer Pietro Coppo, one of the most important cartographers of his time. Most of his world-known works were created in Izola. One of the most beautiful parks in Izola was named after him, which speaks of his importance.
Learn more about the former railway Parenzana that connected the people from Istria with the centre of Trieste, and with other seaside towns in the beginning of the 20th century. It enabled the development of agriculture, salt panning, and industry, as well as provided jobs for people and the opportunity to travel. The interactive map will make sure you remember Parenzana forever, and perhaps encourage you to cycle along the Path of Health and Friendship, as we now call the renovated route of the famous railway line.
Fish Processing Industry and Fishery at their Peak
Izola was mostly characterised by fishery and fish processing industry. In the past, the sea was not only a source of wealth for the people of Izola, but above all a source of livelihood. In the museum, you can also try your hand at fishing and navigating the sea in a real fishing boat, and then catch some sardines in the interactive game called “Fishing with Bepi”.
In the second half of the 19th century, the Ampelea and Arrigoni factories started fish processing, and each had its own fishing fleet and shipyard. This took fisheries to a whole new level. Try not to get too nostalgic while looking at outdated cans and documentary photos of hardworking female workers.
Izolana is temporarly closed.
Also, don't forget the videos available in four languages, and the VR headsets which will take you into virtual reality and show you all the secrets of Izola.
The VR headsets and the interactive game “Fishing with Bepi” are recent acquisitions and part of the project called Mala Barka 2 (Little Boat 2). The project also included the restoration of the pasara boat which can be seen in the museum emphasising the connection between the fishery and the processing industry.
Izolana invites children on a very special adventure. The hunt for the treasure will acquaint the children with the history of Izola and its interesting locals. Overcoming challenges, solving puzzles and of course, searching for the treasure is followed by a creative workshop, where children will get to know model making and create their own, special marine souvenir.