Medieval town Bale – Valle, situated at a height of 140 meters above sea level, lies half way between Rovinj and Pula. The town developed around the medieval castle of the Soardo and Bembo families in the 15th century. It is a typical Istrian town built on a hilltop with narrow streets and stone houses that create a special atmosphere.
It is an area of abundant natural resources, unspoiled nature, crystal blue sea and rich cultural and architectural heritage. Its story is not told only by cultural and historical monuments, but also by the fellowship of its citizens, their hospitality towards each guest and the positive atmosphere which has to be seen and experienced.
Located only 6 km away from the town centre is the 9 km long coastline, part of the campsites San Polo and Colone, which will dazzle you with its rich Mediterranean vegetation, crystal blue sea and amazing sunsets. Take with you the smells and tastes of traditional products – olive oil, wine and cheese and remember this little town at any time of the year- until your next visit.
Originally it belonged to the Soardo family. With the marrying of Veronica Soardo to Alvise Bembo in 1618, the palace came under the possession of the Bembo family. During one of the many restorations, objects from the Bronze Age were found in its cellars. The palace was erected by using the town walls and two towers. Above the entrance doors of the palace, there is a Venetian lion dating back to 1145 and a sundial, which was the emblem of the Bembo family. The gothic-renaissance frontage with quatrefoils and the central balcony have been completely preserved. Town’s loggia, town’s fontico (wheat storage) and the praetorian palace from the medieval period even today still represent the pearls of heritage which simply must be seen.
Parish church of Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth
A large three-naval church was built in three phases: the first phase dates from the late Middle Ages, that is the 8th century. During the period of the Renaissance it was expanded in 1588 and turned into a three-naval church, but it was completely demolished in 1871 and a construction of a new church began. Built entirely of white stone, it is a record – holder as it is the fifth church in a row constructed on the same spot. In its interior it hold priceless cultural heritage: a stone sarcophagus from the 8th century, a wooden crucifix from the 13th century, a wood relief polyptych, a wooden statue of the Lady of Mon Perin from the 15th century, valuable paintings from the 17th and 18th century, liturgical vestments and equipment from the 15th until the 19th century. Many believe that the statue of the Lady of Mon Perin is endowed with magical properties. A bell tower, located beside the church, 36 metres high, was renovated in 1856.
Lapidarium – Crypt
During the construction of the present-day parish church, remains of the old church that had been in the same place were carefully stored in the crypt where the lapidarium is today. Currently, sculptures, fragments of decorative elements and stone decorations dating from ancient times all the way to the Middle Ages are exhibited here. The crypt is also home to a stone sarcophagus from 1595 where the remains of Blessed Julian, the patron of Bale, are held.
Sport gym “Bale”
Sport gym “Bale”, a Studio 3LHD’s project, is an example of successfully blending a modern structure into a traditional environment. The stone dry wall motif is reinterpreted through the new technology of restructured facade elements. As the largest structure in the town, alongside the church, “Bale” sport gym, with its primary role as a school’s sport gym, serves also as a venue for many public events. It also has a sauna and wellness centre where citizens and visitors of Bale can relax. Among other cultural and historical monuments in Bale, this gym has become one of the main reasons why tourists visit this town. At the World’s First festival of Architecture in Barcelona in 2008, the gym has won the first prize in the category of sports structures. It competed with the giants like the Wembley Arena in London, Watercube Olympic Pool and Beijing Tennis Centre.
Enormous Rebbachisauridae and Titanosauriformes, sauropods or as they’re popularly known, dinosaurs, lived on the Earth more than 200 million years ago. At the Ulika Multimedia Gallery Exhibit Space, you will find a dinosaur museum with bones of these enormous animals that are 100 and 200 million years old. They were discovered, better said taken, from the seabed of Colone Bay in 1992, meticulously cleaned and prepared at the Monfalcone Paleontological Museum in Italy. As far as we know, our site is the only dinosaur fossil site where fossils were found in the seabed, a fact that has put Bale on the World List of Paleontological Sites. Take some time to look at the dinosaur footprints and consider for a moment the size of these grand creatures that dominated the land you are standing on right now.
For many years Mr. Sasso watched, studied, registered and discovered many bird species in Bale, Rovinj, Palud and surrounding areas, classified them scientifically and taxidermically preserved many of them. Mr. Sasso donated his collection to the local hunting association and it is currently exhibited at the Ulika Multimedia Centre. This valuable collection is the only collection in the region and the exhibit includes detailed descriptions and audio of the birds’ calls. Take an hour or two to listen and learn about birds from all over the world that breed and nest in the area.
Other churches in Bale
The Church of the Holy Spirit
The little church of the Holy Spirit was built in the 15th century. Its interior, constructed with regular stone blocks with stone pavement-slates, is decorated with fresco paintings by Albert from Constance. Together with usual scenes of the Christological cycle on the Sanctuary wall, Master Albert also painted the scene of the Throne of Mercy with the saints.
St. Anthony Church
This little church from the 15th century was last renovated in the last century. The church keeps an engraved stone altar from the 16th century, and the northern wall preserves several Glagolitic graffiti from the 15th and the 16th century. The main altar made of stone and wood also has the statue of St. Anthony the Abbot or St. Anthony. The church is laid out in the shape of the Latin cross and its exterior fronts are made of stone.
St. Elias’ Church
The pre-Romanesque church of St. Elias or Immaculate Conception was erected in the mid-11th century, and it is known by the name Della Concetta. The front of the church has a 12-metre inbuilt bell-tower. The little church is rectangular, it is completely made of white stone, and it was renovated in the last century.