There is something so incredibly idyllic about Rovinj, Croatia – from the turquoise water lapping the rocky shore to the narrow and twisting lanes to the St. Euphemia Church that sits at the highest point and its bell tower that stretches into the sky. We have been soaking it in, literally dipping into the sea every day.
St. Euphemia Church in Rovinj, Croatia
When we’re floating in the water, the view of the old town is as pretty as a painting and our eyes are drawn to St. Euphemia Church and bell tower. Intrigued equally by the story of St. Euphemia’s relics that are housed in the church and the views from the top of the bell tower, more than once we’ve wandered up the cobblestone streets that lead to the hilltop church.
St. Euphemia Relics
There are many versions to the story of how St. Euphemia’s relics arrived in Rovinj, but the variations are somewhat insignificant. The most common tale we’ve heard is that in the year 800 the tomb containing St. Euphemia was found floating in the sea. Fishermen pulled it ashore and the people of Rovinj instantly knew what it was, but they were physically unable to move the sarcophagus.
A boy, claiming to have had a dream about St. Euphemia, said he could do it. The boy, along with his two cows, miraculously hauled the heavy marble tomb up the hill to the church. Since then, St. Euphemia has been named the patron saint and protector of Rovinj. The church was later rebuilt (completed in 1736), and includes an altar for St. Euphemia’s relics.
St. Euphemia Bell Tower
The bell tower has 192 rickety steps that can be climbed for a small fee (which we considered a donation toward new steps.) Concentrating on foot placement was the most challenging part of the climb, but well-rewarded with the scenery at the top.
With 360 degree panoramic views, we could see neighboring coastal towns, small vineyards and tall mountains in the distance. Rovinj’s densely built old town looks even more compact from above. Faded orange tiled rooftops merge together making it impossible to see the lanes that weave through the buildings. We could see the many islands that dot the sea just off-shore and boats sailing around them. The morning light sparkled on the water near the harbor, making the boats appear to be floating on a bed of diamonds.
We want to know: Have you visited St. Euphemia Church in Rovinj, Croatia? What did you think of the views? Had you heard the story of St. Euphemia before? Tell us in the comments below!