In the northern part of Istria, over the Mirna River valley, 270 meters above sea level, there is a charming and scenic hill with a fortified town of Motovun. This attractive medieval town, greatly influenced by Venetian and Roman architecture, is almost completely intact till this day. Aside from massive walls and towers, interesting walkways and solid gates, the real eye-catcher are the coats-of-arms of different ruling families which adorn the inner walls.
Within the city stands the beautiful church of St. Stephen, designed by the well-known Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, and treasures priceless works of art from 17th and 18th century Italian masters. Don’t miss the chance to climb up to the unique bell tower! You will be amazed by the hill slopes covered in olive groves and vineyards stretching into the distance as far as the eye can see. While you are there, you should try some of the finest Istrian wines: Teran or Malvazija. And if you get hungry, just join a truffle hunting tour! Yes, you heard right – Motovun has treasures even underground.
And for all cinemaniacs out there: In late July or early August the town hosts an international film festival dedicated to films made in small studios and independent film productions. Aside from that, Motovun hosts several ballooning events. Thanks to its mild climate, it’s a real paradise for ballooning lovers. So there is something for everyone!
Motovun is also known as the home of Veli Jože, the legendary hero of many folktales. His character fully reflects the people of Istria – strong but gentle giants, known for their hospitality.