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Pula

A wealth of Roman architecture lifts otherwise-workaday Pula (ancient Polensium; Pola in Italian) from the humdrum. The star of the show is the remarkably well-preserved Roman amphitheatre, smack in the heart of the city, which dominates the streetscape and doubles as a venue for summer concerts and festivals.

Historical attractions aside, Pula is a busy commercial city on the sea that has managed to retain a friendly small-town appeal. Just a short bus ride away, a series of beaches awaits at the resorts that occupy the Verudela Peninsula to the south. Although marred with residential and holiday developments, the coast is dotted with fragrant pine groves, seaside cafes and a clutch of good restaurants.

Pula is also a good base for exploring the protected Cape Kamenjak nature park, to the south, and the Brijuni Islands National Park, to the north.

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