Welcome to the trail along the area where once passed the glorious Via Flavia, a Roman military road used by the Romans when they travelled from Trieste to Poreč and Pula. This route probably existed already in prehistoric times. Begin your ride in Kaštelir, a picturesque town inhabited since prehistory, which later became a Roman fortification and a medieval citadel. Although, unfortunately, there are no remains of the medieval walls in the centre of Kaštelir you can find the three-nave church of St Kosmas and St Damian from the 19thcentury with an imposing belfry. After riding along its narrow streets and enjoying the view of nicely tended gardens, the nearby fields and vineyards, continue towards Labinci, a place which has always been considered a rival to Kaštelir.
You will find there the Gothic church of the St Trinity from the 13th century with frescoes from the 15th century and the Parish church of St John the Baptist dating from the year 1736. In the sanctuary of the church, under the floor, there are remains of the once glorious Benedictine abbey of St Michael dating from the 9th century. Do you know where does this odd name, “under ground” come from? You will find the answer if you ride along the trail towards south when you come across the abbey we mentioned, known for the Glagolitic monks. If you pay attention to its remains, you will find an unusual construction of the monastery church with a sanctuary dug up in the ground, because of which it is referred to as St Michael “under ground”. However, if you like to visit a place literally located under ground, continue along the trail and you will find the cave called Baredine where you can explore the magic of Istrain life underground.
A 132 metres deep cave, the only spot of speleological interest among this cave species in Istria, is illuminated with headlamps and has a track designed for safe visits. Apart for the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites it also abounds in calcium sediments and colourful crystal columns. In the water pool of the Baredine cave lives the human fish (proteus anguinus or theolm) – the endemic specie of the Dinaric Karst. When you get tired of these wonderful attractions you can refresh yourself in one of the numerous agritourism spots along the trail and passing through Devići and Diklići ride back to Kaštelir where your adventure, actually, began.
- The saints of Kaštelir: the church of St Cosmas and St Damian
- Two beautiful places - eternal rivals on the Roman military road: Labinci vs. Kaštelir
- The secret of the saint ?under ground?: the remains of the Benedictine abbey of St Michael
- Istrian life under ground: the human fish in the Baredine cave