Town gate of Motovun. On one side it borders on a cliff, as you can see in the picture. No need for a town wall on that side.... You will also find antique stones and various inscriptions here. And of course a Venetian lion.
This is a typical street in Motovun. Since the whole town is on a hill, it is a little excercise to go up there every day. But the view and the atmosphere of the town are difinitely worth it.
If you want to see real Motovun, don't come in the time of the Film Festival, since it's crowded then. The best time to visit is in the spring or fall...when the weather is nice, and there are not too many people around. You can take a little tour by wine roads of Istria to see other small towns just like this one and try home cousine in one of the small family restaurants.
This is just one of the old and most romantic houses you can see in Motovun. Wherever you go in this little city, there is a feeling of old times right there...the calmness is in the air - little hills and vineyards all around you make Motovun an ideal hideaway. No wonder this part of Istria is called ''a little Tuscany''. It's wine, truffels and delitious cakes and liquers can definitely match the Tuscany ones.
This is Motovun during the Film Festival. All of the day the town is full of people- drinking first cup of coffie in the morning on the sunny terrace, catching few early afternoon movies, then going for a light lunch, maybe a short drive to the coast and taking a swim in the sea, and preparing for movies and parties till the morning.
The parish church, St. Stjepan (St. Steven), the construction of which began in the early 17th century carries late Renaissance markings. The painting of the Last Supper in the sanctuary is attributed to Stefano Celesti (17th cent.); the marble statues at the main altar are the work of Francesco Bonazza from 1725; the Baroque carved chair (17th cent.); ceiling painting were made by the neoclassicist Giuseppe Bernadino Bisson in the late 18th century; the organ is the work of Gaetana Callida (Venice, 18-19th cent.). Of the church inventory, the gilded movable altar with reliefs of the crucifixion and saints (14th cent.), the processional cross from the 14th century with ornamental handle from the 15th century, the chalice with enamel ornaments (15th cent.), the osculatorium (1606), the reliquary (17th cent.) and the candelabras (from 1714 and 1739) stand out in particular.
Motovun (in Italian Montona d'Istria) is a town in central Istria, Croatia. The population of the village itself is 531, with a total of 983 residents in the municipality (2001).
It is situated on a hill 270 meters above sea level. On top of a Motovun hill is probably the most beautiful medieval town in Istria, but houses are scaterred all over the hill. On the slopes of the hill grapes for famous Istrian wines are grown. The river Mirna flows below the hill and on the other side of the river there is the famous Motovun forest, rich with truffles, which became popular through Vladimir Nazor's well known novel Veli Jože, about a well-tempered peasant giant who "lived" there.
Since 1999, Motovun is a scene for international Motovun Film Festival. Motovun is the birthplace of race car driver Mario Andretti. A plan of Motovun is displayed on reverse of 10 kuna banknote.
This is the landscape from the city wall. In the middle of the picture, river Mirna and the road to Buje. On the right, the Motovun Forest served as a source of oak logs (Quercus robur) for Venice. The logs were bundled into rafts and floated down the Mirna to the coast. This wood was ideal for the pile work of Venice and for shipbuilding. Venice stands on Motovun pile works but the forest has nearly disappeared. Today, only ten square kilometers survive, one third of which are under special protection. The forests around Motovun are also known for the highly prized white truffle (Tuber magnatum). For more on truffles, look at my Livade page.
This wonderful stone staircase leads you up to the Virgin Mary's Church, known also as "Of the Portal".
It is also one of the walking paths into the centre of the old core of Motovun.
This is the view of the church from the upper city walls.
This lawn inside the city wall is one of the places where films are shown during the Motovun film festival. That must be great to stare at a film in such a wonderful place. But there is so little space in and around the city that I wonder how visitors can park their car !
It is possible to walk on the inner city wall and to make the whole tour around the old city. On this picture, you can see that walking on top of the wall is comfortable. On the right is the old city with gardens, yards or lawns one or two meters lower than the path. On the left the smaller wall is high enough to make a comfortable rambarde and there is no fear, even for those who suffer from vertigo.
From the square in front of the church, the street continues as a path on top of the inner city wall. It allows both to view several yards where films are shown in the open during the film festival and the view on the plain and the Mirna valley.
The bell tower is older than the church and was built in the XIIIth century in a romanesque-gothique style. It was designed as a stronghold and was part of the defense system of the town. It is topped by a platform protected by machicolation.
The Sveti Stevan (Saint Stephen) church was finished to build in 1600, in Renaissance style, following the drafts from the famous architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), born in Vicenza. He is famous for the many villas, palaces and churches he has built all over Venezia (including Istria).
A vaulted doorway leads to the oldest part of the city, inside the inner city wall, on top of the hill. Under this doorway, the pavement is very rough and you have better have good shoes ! Once you have passed through this doorway, you arrive on the small square where stands the church.
This other one is also a rather classical Lion of Saint Marc though the wings are amazingly inserted, in a way that should not work and, as it has a long tongue hanging, it is thirsty. What is interesting is the coat of arm with five roses. It is carved at several places in Motovun but is not Motovun coat of arm. I have not found any clue towards Venice, Aquilee and bishops but I would not be surprised if that was linked with one of these. I keep searching.