It's an easy hour's walk south along the coastal Setaliste from Opatija to LOVRAN, following a rocky shore punctuated by two pebbly coves at Icici and Ika. On arrival you'll find an Italianate, green-shuttered little town with a small harbour , fringed by palatial belle epoque villas, decorated with curly balustrades covered in green espaliers. Behind the main street, Marsala Tita, a old quarter climbs the hill, where vine-shaded cobbled alleys converge

the fourteenth-century St George's Church (Crkva svetog Jurja). Some toes dating from 1479, reminiscent in style of the wall paintings at Beram and other Istrian churches, can be found behind the main altar. Opposite the church, the House of St George bears an eighteenth-century relief, above the doorway, of the saint slaying a dragon, which has become something of a town trademark. Habsburg-era villas are scattered all over Lovran. Many were taken over by the state and turned into flats after World War II; sadly, none is open to the public. Some of the best are concentrated northeast of the centre along Marsala Tita, where you can hardly miss the Secessionist Villa Gianna at no. 23, a pink-mauve confection built in 1904 by local architect Attilio Maguolo. It's embellished with ornate Corinthian columns and winged dragons clutching shields inscribed with the initials IP, a reference to the original owner, Iginic, Persich. Further on, beyond the Excelsior hotel, a further group of villas lurks in shady seaside gardens. The most famous of these is the Villa Frappart on Viktora Cara Emina, another Secession-inspired work built forViennese lawyer Michel Ruault Frappart by Karl Seidl in 1890. An eclectic Byzantine-Gothic building, whose colonnaded entrance gives it palatial pretensions, it's now an elite music school. -Specializing in Cheap Flights F