Pula’s most famous and imposing sight is this 1st-century oval amphitheatre, overlooking the harbour northeast of the old town. It's a huge and truly magnificent structure, slotted together entirely from local limestone and known locally as the Arena. Designed to host gladiatorial contests and seating up to 20,000 spectators, it's now Istria's stellar tourist attraction but still serves the mass entertainment needs of the local populace in the shape of concerts, some by big-name acts.

Day Trips & Excursions activity

Istria Private Full Day Trip from Zagreb

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When you emerge from the ticket office on to the floor of the amphitheatre, there are a few features you should look out for. On the top of the walls is a gutter that collected rainwater – you can still see the slabs used to secure the fabric canopy, which protected spectators from the sun. You can clamber round the stones, take a seat and imagine the scenes that were played out here 2000 years ago, or hire some Roman garb and have your photo taken.

In the chambers next to the ticket office there is a small, gravel-floored museum with displays on the Roman olive-oil industry and Roman life in Istria.

Check out the weekly Spectacvla Antiqva, an evening summer event that recreates gladiator fights, workshops featuring ancient Roman clothing and hairstyles, and tasting of Roman food and drinks. It costs 70KN for adults, 30KN for children.