Get to know the lives of the locals, their habits, secrets and their favourite spots in Izola. Discover Izola with relaxed Barbara or with active Matej. Trust me, both stories are interesting – each reveals something new in its own way, and shows you the love they have for their town through the perspectives of each of the two. Who will you choose to go with first?
Everyone carries at least one secret inside of them, which is connected to the place where they live. The secrets are different – some more, some less hidden. Some of them we share with others at certain moments, while others remain just ours forever. The locals of Izola have shared some of them with you. We can call them secrets or their experiences, maybe their favourite moments due to which they enjoy living in their town.
Some small secrets by the people of Izola
Izola was calling to him
Upon entering the antique shop on Manzioli Square, one immediately feels the warmth and a sense of mystery at the same time. It is a space where each object carries a story, and Sergio Kraljič is happy to tell them and take you on a journey into another time. Sergio also told us a story that unknowingly brought him to Izola. Years ago, after a difficult life period, he felt the need for a new beginning. He felt an inexplainable attraction to Izola – as if the town was calling to him.
“Izola touched my heart right away. I later found out that my parents got married here in Izola.”
That was how Sergio understood that this secret part of his parents’ life was why he had come to Izola. At Manzioli Square, where he opened an antique shop, a new chapter in his life began. Manzioli Square is a place where something is always happening. It’s a meeting point for the locals and one of the most popular places among visitors of Izola. It’s a place where you can feel the authentic atmosphere and homeliness of Izola. Sergio says he loves the square, and he paid homage to it with poetry hanging on the door of his antique shop.
Watch the video, feel the magic of the square and the nostalgic ambiance of Sergio’s antique shop.
Sergio Kraljič, Antiquarian
The Secret of the Church of St. Maurus
The parish priest Janez Kobal took over the ministry in the parishes of Izola and Korte 17 years ago. About 250 years ago, as many as 12 priests cared for the parish, which testifies to the importance of the Church at that time.
The sacral heritage of Izola is opulent and the Church of St. Maurus is surely one of the most picturesque buildings in the area. It stands on the highest point of the former island and gives the town its distinctive silhouette. In the 14th century, on the site of today’s magnificent church with a white and orange façade, stood a smaller church, which has later undergone many architectural transformations. The Church of St. Maurus was built between 1547 and 1553. In that year, it was dedicated to St. Maurus: the patron saint of the church, who, according to the legend, saved the town from the Genoese occupation in 1380. The church was later restored and rebuilt several times.
“The church was built in the Renaissance style, imitating the style of Venice. The inhabitants of Izola chose the best Venetian architects and painters for the renovation. You don’t have to go to Venice. Come to Izola, and you’ll see part of it here.”
The priest told us an anecdote, which also testifies to the artistic riches found in the church. Inside there is a painting depicting St. Laurence giving alms to the poor. It was made by the students of the prominent Venetian painter Bernardo Strozzi, who is considered the main founder of the Venetian Baroque style. Years ago, the church was visited by a great art lover, who was apparently also a collector, seeing that he asked to buy the painting for a dazzling sum. Nevertheless, the priest stood by his principles and the work of art still contributes to the importance of the sacral heritage in Izola.
Would you like to find out more? Watch the video.
Izola's street jam session
Six years ago, Marina came to Izola from Sweden to discover her roots. Her mother comes from Izola, and as a child, she left her birthplace so move to the North. A musician and singer, Marina fell in love with Izola instantly, and her planned vacation, which was supposed to be just several months long, turned to Living in this fishing town. She never again returned to her Sweden home.
"In addition to everything that happens to you in this town – from tastes to the sea, shade and the smell of trees, nice people ... With a little bit of luck, an evening walk along the streets of the old town centre can turn into a genuine jam session with local musicians, who celebrate music, wine and especially friendship!"
Farm instead of a sail boat
At first, Marko lived with his family in a city, and in the eighties, they traded the hustle and bustle of the city for a peaceful life in the picturesque Izola countryside. When his family was deciding where they'd be spending more time together, thus deciding between buying a sail boat or a farmstead, they all voted for the latter. And this decision was the beginning of a beautiful story of the Medijan farmstead.
"Immediately after settling in, we started raising cattle, which we switched for raising horses after expanding our land. This also marked the transition to a tourist farm and an equestrian school. Until recently, all the culinary secrets were being diligently kept by my grandmother (locally called "nona"), who gradually started to reveal them to my wife, Marina. By visiting our typical Istrian farmstead, you too can get to know and taste them."
Do you know what emits that light in the sea at night?
The mother of the sister Enya and Amelie comes from Izola, while their father comes from France – that is also where they got their beautiful names from. They live together in Izola, and their favourite time of the year is summer, of course. They favourite beach for swimming is San Simon, where youngsters gather in the afternoons.
"Each year, we get to know new friends with which we enjoy the summer days. We don't just swim at the beach, but also go cycling together, skateboard and generally enjoy our time outside, since the days are longer, and we can be outside longer. Our secret is that we have a special garden together in Korte, just for ourselves – we take care of it ourselves, and we enjoy working it. Not just by the sea, it is also lovely at the countryside. Oh, and there is another secret we just remembered ... We love night-time swimming – do you wanna know why? Because the plankton in the sea glows at night. This is so beautiful!"
Amelie & Enya
From fishing pole to fishing nets
At an early age, when Davor first got to hold a fishing pole, the attraction between him and the sea was born. First, he was a professional fisherman, and during that time, he attended eight World Championship events, where he received no less than four medals. Later, he swapped his fishing pole for fishing nets, and thus his attraction grew into true love which still lasts and has become his way of life.
"The magic of Izola is in its pristine connection to the sea, although this connection is still being maintained by only a few individuals through fishing. I am one of them. I've been fishing for 30 years, and I enjoy the sea and love it sincerely. It is not easy, but the sea is fair and generous to those who have the will and persistence."
Flowers are the soul of a house
Silvestra is a huge flower lover which can clearly be seen when looking at her "blooming" windows on the Tartini Street. She is very proud of her street, and she is very glad that all the neighbours get along nicely and live in the spirit of mutual connectedness.
"Tartini Street is the most beautiful street in Izola, where a lot is going on. Together, we attend the culinary contest "Šalšijada" and similar events in the town, and we also organize joint celebrations and erect triumphal arcs. Apart from our street, I also love flowers, which adorn my apartment, my windows and my field. People are amazed at how I'm able to keep having them, and how I take care of them. During winter, when it seems that the flowers will die, I attentively take care of them, and in spring, they return the love by lush blooming. As everywhere else, love is the most important ingredient when taking care of flowers. And never forget; flowers are the soul of the house."
»Hello, my land!«
Aldo from the Istriana farmstead has been a farmer for many years. First, he was farming in addition to having a job, but now, he is a fully devoted farmer. He takes care that his grandchildren eat healthy food, and in addition, his good will and healthy produce are keeping the visitors to the local Stuff from my field marketplace (Ruba sz moje njive). The main part of his land, where he is mostly growing vegetables and some fruit, is situated beneath Dobrava in Izola, while his olive trees are located in the vicinity.
"A farmer who works the land needs to be present in full – throughout the whole day – it cannot be just a part-time job. Only the right attitude and willingness to work will result in the right products; therefore, I greet my farm with "Good morning!" every morning, and I tell it "Good night!" every evening. Just as a young woman is beautiful, so is my land."
Bread must be made by the right hands
Rozana is the president of the Tourist Association Šparžin as well as a great cultural heritage admirer. She says that all roads lead to Korte, where one is greeted by kind people, local food with the excellent olive oil and tasty wine. She invites everyone to put on their hiking boots and go discovering Korte and the surrounding areas.
"I inherited a lot of knowledge from my mother, Marija Panger, who also shared her secrets of baking good bread with me. But she always said only knowledge was not good enough. Tasty bread must be made by the right hands, and bread dough needs to be kneaded with the right energy. I love nature, meeting others and the right company. Walking in nature is a particular stress-reliever of mine, and it fills me with new strength after a stressful day. I also love the various water sources that hold great value for me and which are quite numerous in Korte and its surrounding areas."