If Croatia was a dragon (according to its shape it looks like one 🐲), then Dalmatia could be the body and legs, inner Croatia - the wings, Zagreb - the heart and Istria - the head. These Istrian stories, I will start with the topic that is usually the first one - the history. Let's dive into ancient Istria and discover which secrets Motovun, a medieval town and film festival venue, is hiding.
Warning No.1: reading this article will tackle your imagination, you will get the itchy feet and wish to teleport here immediately. Warning No.2: this region and its villages are the best to visit only in the following four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Since the Italians live in Istria as well (and Istria became a part of Croatia and Yugoslavia after the Second World War), the name of the town is Montona. Before reading the story about the Motovun, please, look at this beauty from the sky:
Motovun is a medieval fortress town. It was built before the 10th century on the altitude of more than 300 meters above the sea level. Romans, Celts, Illyrians, Italians, Croats, Austrians...many nations lived here and left their own traces. Motovun is in the middle of Istrian wilderness. The best way to come here is by bus or car from Opatija, Rovinj or Novigrad, and then move on foot up to the town. The cobblestones and steep stairs can be a little bit uncomfortable to walk over, so prepare good shoes and a bottle of water. Climbing up can be tiring, but the prize comes after only 10 minutes - the view and strong fortress walls that will take you back in time. This town-fortress-village is a great place for a half-day visit. I would recommend one afternoon that includes the walking around the hill, lunch with the best Istrian wines (Malvazija is a must) and a beautiful sunset and view over the Motovun forest. Parenzana, a wine railway that connects three countries, was passing by Motovun, and the traces of this famous railway are still visible.
Everywhere you look around, you'll see the forest and vineyards. Motovun is in the middle of nature, which makes it a perfect place for the escape from the crowded coastal cities. The forest around Motovun is very famous for its truffles - white and black ones. The truffles are one of the most expensive mushrooms, and specially trained dogs can locate them in the Motovun forest. Besides the beautiful forest, the Mirna/Quieto River is passing by the Motovun town. The Mirna is the biggest river in Istria.
Motovun is a venue of the festival dedicated to the independent movies from Europe and the US. This medieval town is the best venue for such a festival, that is held each year since 1999. The prize for the best movie is called The Propeller of Motovun.
Come to Motovun, since this amazing medieval town will charge your batteries with green views, 11-century-old history, and the best Istrian wine, and if visiting it in July or August, do not miss the film festival.
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