Busy day today! First the Euphrasian Basilica, followed by a trip to the Pilat (I mean Pilato) Winery, and then to Pula to visit a giant Roman amphitheater.
The present basilica, dedicated to Mary, was built in the sixth century during the period of Bishop Euphrasius. It was built from 553 on the site of the older basilica that had become dilapidated. For the construction, parts of the former church were used and the marble blocks were imported from the coast of the Sea of Marmara. The wall mosaics were executed by Byzantian masters and the floor mosaics by local experts. The construction took about ten years. Euphrasius, holding the church in his arms, is represented on one of the mosaics on the apse, next to St. Maurus. Wikipedia
The Bapistry, one of the oldest existing parts of the basilica is the dark projecting semi-circular building and has an octagonal baptismal pool and is decorated with many fragments from the earlier church.
We look around the Bishop’s palace. In one of the room are three large 13th century crucifixes.
Outside you see the earlier footprint of the 4th century basilica with its mosaic floor.
The 6th century basilica is ablaze with mosaics! On the main apse mosaic, St. Maurus proudly holds his basilica (on left.)
Although the altar canopy blocks some of the mosaics from view, there is a wonderful Annunciation on the right.
On the corresponding left side, there is a mosaic of the Visitation.
Next our travels take us out to the countryside to visit the Pilato Winery. We were here a few years ago and are greeted warmly. We taste some wines and buy a couple of bottles and some olive oil. They are sure John must be Istrian. After all everyone in the the town is named Pilat or Pilato! They give us a nice two step logo cork pull as a parting gift.
Our next stop is in Pula, Croatia. First event, lunch! We have lunch at the Jupiter Pizzeria. We decide to get one larger pizza instead of three smaller ones and wow, it takes large to a new level!
We walk over to Pula’s massive Roman amphitheater. It is huge and still used for events and concerts. Underneath where they used to keep the lions and gladiators is a small museum. The most interesting thing to us is the 4th century map of Italy and surrounds. We can see the Istrian peninsula and Aquileia clearly.
In the evening back in Porec we walk around the city looking for a hamburger. I getting nostalgic for some American food, a sure sign that our vacation is approaching its end.