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  • hbanziger

C + 19 : Pietra d'Istria

As expected, weather did not look great this morning. When we went up to the deck to get coffee at 6.30 am, there was still a light drizzle. By 7 am however, it stopped raining

Weather at 7 am in the Marina of Rovinj

The weather maps showed that most clouds would pass by 10 am. We told everybody that we would leave for a quiet bay at 11 am.

Accurate Weather Map at 8 am today - rain clouds moving east - the rain was not related the Bora as we had assumed

And low and behold, by 10 am the sky cleared up and the sun was back. Rovinj was shining in its beautiful colours again and the vacationers began heading to the beaches. Many said Hi as they passed the Dragonfly. Croats are really ;friendly and cheerful.

Rovinj at 11 am as we left the Marina As planned, we sailed from the Marina at 11 am after Captain Marco got some fuel on the way out and the Americans had returned from their jogging. Never sacrifice a tradition!

The quiet Bay of Cavi just 20 min south of Rovinj where we would hang out for a while

When reading up on Rovinj, I noticed that the Venetians did not only come to Istria to buy salt and stay overnight on their way to the Middle East. They also came to buy stones. Much of the marble used in Venice came from here. It is not called marble but Pietra d’Istria (stone from Istria). Besides looking as beautiful as marble, it is more resistant to saltwater than the Carrara marble and thus became Venice's preferred stone for palaces and churches. Carrara marbles were only used for internal decoration.


Pietra d’Istria was not only quarried in Rovinj but on the entire coast from Piran to Pula and then shipped from Trieste. The freshly cut Istria stone is usually salt-white or slightly yellow but ages into the light grey-white colour we are familiar with from Venice. These stones were expensive and challenging to ship. Venice thus developed a building style where the ground floor was laid with Pietra d’Istria one foot above the high water mark. This protected the ground floor from salt induced erosion. Then, bricks were used for the rest of the building. Bricks were considerably cheaper and are as sturdy as marble provided they are kept out of salt water. Also. Venice could bake bricks locally. For the outside decoration, Istrian stones were used again. BTW the Arena of Pula is decorated with Pietra d’Istria on the outside whilst arches, seat rows and support structures are built with spare stones and concrete.

Istrian Stone Arches at Campo San Stephano - San Marco Square

What gives Venice its reddish-white hue is actually the blending of marbles. Pietra d’Istria and pink marble from Verona in northern Italy were combined as on the outside of the Doge Palace. Sadly, the Verona quarries are now exhausted and nobody can ever build again a place like the Doge Palace.

Doge Palace with the Verona and Istrian Marlble Fassade

Is is our last full day in Croatia and everybody chills. Tomorrow, we will set sail for Piran in Slovenia (time for the Slovenian Flag to go to the top) and on Friday it is time to sail to Venice. The weather looks good. We should have a pleasant crossing of the Adriatic.

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