Many people admire the picturesque look of Motovun and its beautiful photographs on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram etc., but there are certainly few who knows that Motovun originates from the Bronze Age.
Even in the 1st century BC, Motovun was exposed to the invasion of the Celtic tribes from the north, and therefore it is assumed that this old city leads its name from the Celtic word “Montona”, which means “a city on the hill”. The Romans were not delighted in hilly areas, so they were not even interested in Motovun. Its present shape was shaped in the early Middle Ages (the second half of the 13th century) when Motovun was under the rule of Venetian. During the Renaissance period, the walls were renovated and reconstructed, and from that time was the Renaissance bastion which was built in 1539.
Motovun is one of the symbols of the Istrian interior, which runs the longest Istrian staircase from 1052 stairs.
City fortress or one of the best preserved medieval fortress still proudly dominates the Mirna Valley.
Although the history of the city begins before the Roman times, Motovun is best known for its medieval features. The outer walls, the inner ring, the suburbs and the monuments from the 13th and 14th centuries, are just some of the parts of this beautiful place.
If you want to visit this city, you must know that access to the city is not possible with a car, unless you have someone who lives in the old city center. Namely, you will have to leave your car at the old cemetery or somewhere along the road going up the city. Though it may seem that afterward there is nothing left to do but to climb up the hill, that’s not the case. Namely, from the parking lot to the city center you will only need a ten-minute easy walk uphill. However, if you’re lazy, you can also try the panoramic bus ride to the top.
Few know that in the same place in late antiquity was an early Christian basilica, even bigger than today’s Church of St. Stephen.
And while this beautiful old city itself gives a luxurious impression, what makes it even more attractive is truffles growing at the foot of the hill in Motovun forest.
It can be rightly said that the Istrian truffle is the king of Croatian gastronomy. There are two restaurants on the top of the hill that offers truffles.
But whether you have decided to eat a real lunch or just something from a dessert offer, what will really delight you is the view of the surrounding, the valley of the River Mirna and the Motovun’s forest.
Motovun’s forest is responsible for growing ‘the most expensive’ foodstuff in the world. In order of truffle growing, several conditions need to be met such as suitable soil, thick oak forests, and plenty of moisture.
All this, and much more, has a Motovun’s forest.
Truffles are a real bait for guests, but also a chance for good earnings, the fact is that there are several smaller family businesses in Motovun dealing exclusively with this mushroom. Thus, the “Miro Truffle”, whose owners are men and wife Kotiga, Miro and Mirjana, are specialized in harvesting, buying and processing of small-sized truffles. At the beginning of the nineties, they established a company to make Istrian truffle even closer to the market. They also offer ‘Truffle Hunting’ with the right, trained dogs. Namely, you can arrange truffle hunting with the family Kotiga and they’ll take you to the depths of the Motovun forest to show you how a search for this treasure looks like.
But gastronomy of this town is known for something else. This part of Croatia is known for its outstanding wines. In the immediate vicinity of Motovun, several families are involved in wine production. Don’t miss to try wine which was produced only of three varieties of grapes, Istrian Malvasia, Terana, and Muskata. These are three indigenous varieties that give the best results in Istria.
If you ever thought about spending a weekend here, and you thought that there was not enough activity to take up the day, you were foolishly deceived. Although the surface is relatively small, Motovun is characterized by a phenomenal offer for everyone. From history research, sporting events to gourmet offer for everyone.
Motovun will take you so close to your heart that you will soon be coming back for a dose of fresh air, tempting truffles and top quality wines.
During the last days in July, Motovun’s street occupies the Motovun Film Festival.
It is considered one of the first film festivals in Croatia and is deservedly considered to be the perfect venue for a film festival that shows independent movie productions, which was the goal when in 1999 the Motovun Film Festival began with work.
The program is truly rich and consists of 70 titles from around the world, featuring documentaries and feature films.
Motovun is an ideal place for adrenaline sports enthusiasts such as paragliding and mountain biking, and you should not miss the wonderful hiking trails.
This is a city that does not suffer from mass tourism.