South of the amphitheatre, central Pula encircles a pyramidal hill, scaled by secluded streets and topped with a star-shaped Venetian fortress. Starting from the main downtown street of Giardini,

Sergijevaca (also labelled Via Sergia) heads into the older, more atmospheric parts of town, running through the Arch of the Sergians (also known as Zlatna vrata, or Golden Gate), a self glorifying monument built by one Salvia Postuma Sergia in 30 BC.The far side of the arch is the more interesting, with reliefs of winged victories framing inscription extolling the virtues of the Sergia family - one of whom (proba Salvia's husband) commanded a legion at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Continuing west along Sergijevaca, then left down Maksimihanova, brings you to a patch of open ground distinguished by a further two ancient mo ments.The first of these, the small sixth-century Byzantine Chapel of St of Formosa (Crkvica Marije od Trstika), is the only surviving part of a m umental basilica complex. The chapel is occasionally used as an art gallery summer, although the mosaic fragments that once graced its interior are displayed in the city's Archeological Museum. The rear entrance of an apartment block a few steps north of the chapel is the unlikely setting an impressively complete second-century floor mosaic, uncovered in the wake of Allied bombing raids in World War II. Now restored and on display behind a metal grille, it's largely made up of non-figurative designs - geometric flower-patterns and meanders - surrounding a central panel illustrating the legend of Dirce and the bull. From here it's worth making a brief detour southwards to the main post office on Danteov trg, an ambitious modern structure designed in 1933 by Angiolo Mazzoni - whose Futurist leanings are evinced by the staircase spiralling awesomely upwards from the dark red vestibule.

At the western end of Sergijevaca, stepped streets lead uphill onto the city's central mound, one of them - Balde Lupetine - passing the severe, unadorned form of the thirteenth-century Franciscan Church (Crkva svetog Franja) on the way. There's a disorganized museum in the adjoining cloister (mid-June to mid-Sept: daily 9am-noon & 4-7pm), in which you'll find all kinds of stonework from Roman to late medieval times, and a display of mosaic fragments in a couple of side rooms.

Sergijevaca finishes up at the ancient Roman Forum, nowadays the old quarter's main square. On the far side is the Temple of Augustus, built between 2 BC and 14 AD to celebrate the cult of the emperor and one of the finest Roman temples outside Italy, with an imposing facade of high Corinthian columns. Inside there's a permanent exhibition (mid-June to mid-Sept: daily 9am-6pm) of the best of Pula's Roman finds, including the sculpted torso of a Roman centurion found in the amphitheatre, and a figure of a slave kneeling at the sandalled feet (more or less all that's left) of his master. The building next door began life as a Temple of Diana before being modified and rebuilt as the Town Hall (Gradska viječnica) in the thirteenth century - a Renaissance arcade was added later. Diagonally opposite the town hall, the Cvajner Cafe and Art Gallery occupies a medieval civic building which preserves a sixteenth-century wooden ceiling and some substantial late Gothic fresco fragments - swirling floral motifs in rich red and yellow hues.


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