[60,] A short drive to the coast takes us to Rovijn — my favorite stop between Dubrovnik and Venice. The town rises dramatically from the Adriatic — as if being pulled up to heaven by its grand bell tower.
 The church that crowns Rovinj is dedicated to the 4th century martyr St. Euphemia — her statue functions as a weather vane. Scaling the church bell tower's creaky wooden stairway requires an enduring faith in the reliability of wood. From the top is a commanding view... and, if you're here at high noon, an ear-splitting memory.
 The town's history created its current shape: Medieval Rovinj was a walled island. Because it offered safe harbor from both pirates and the plague, Rovinj became extremely crowded, explaining today's pleasantly claustrophobic Old Town.
 Like the rest of the Croatian coast, Rovinj was part of the Venetian Empire for centuries. And Istria remained part of Italy until after WWII. That's why this region is enthusiastically bi-lingual and an engaging mix of Croatia and Italy.
 Rovinj's vibrant market is a fun place to shop for a picnic and snack on free samples. [sound up:]. It also has its gifty corner where salesmen tempt visiting tourists with the local specialties. [sound up]
 The twisting lack lanes of crumbling old Rovinj seem designed for a photo safari: Arches span narrow alleys which open into hidden courtyards. The "main drag" leading up to the top of the island is lined with art galleries. Understandably, artists love Rovinj.
 And so do romantics. At the Valentino Bar the old-town tumbles right into the sea. It's a memorable place to cap your Rovinj day. Grab a cushion and settle into a cozy stone nook. Enjoy a drink, your travel partner... and the Adriatic sunset.
Find out more about Rovinj, Croatia