Holiday homes and villas with pool in Central Istria
Gentle hills covered with woods and vineyards, green valleys intersected with streams, picturesque medieval towns on hilltops, surrounded by mighty town walls, charming villages with stone houses, flavoured with the locals' genuine hospitality and the rich taste of the local cuisine, is what Central Istria has to offer its guests. Central Istria is one of the rare Mediterranean regions adorned with the quality of unspoiled natural landscape and a rich cultural/historical heritage.
Istria's administrative centre, located in the heart of the peninsula, is Pazin, whose castle (Kaštel, today the Ethnographic Museum of Istria), a fort built above the spectacular Pazinčica abyss, was once used to govern the Pazin earldom, feudatory of the Austrian House of Habsburg. Due to its exceptional attractiveness, the Pazin Cave (possibly the most beautiful example of the evolution of karst hydrography in Istria) inspired the well-known French science fiction author Jules Verne, whose novel Mathias Sandorf partially takes place precisely here.
A mere 20 km north of Pazin lies Motovun, possibly the most picturesque medieval town of inner Istria which has been since prehistoric times the most important settlement of this area. Motovun is a small town of rich cultural and historical heritage, situated on a hill above the Mirna river valley, with a beautiful view of the valley and the famous Motovun forest, habitat of the respectable white truffle, where in 1999 the then-largest white truffle in the world was found (1.301 grams), whose record-breaking size is confirmed by a certificate of the Guinness Book of World Records.
By going upstream the Mirna river valley from Motovun we arrive to Buzet, the second-largest town of Central Istria (after Pazin) with its old town situated on top of a hill. Buzet became populated back in prehistoric times and after that became a fort in the period of Ancient Greece and Rome. The central town square with its parish church the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the heart of the old town, also worth visiting is the Regional Museum of the Buzet Area. In 1999 Buzet was declared the City of Truffles, a unique underground fruit of this area.
Not far from Buzet are Roč, today a very attractive and active cultural centre, and Hum, famous for being the smallest town in the world. Between these two towns there is a unique memorial complex dedicated to the old Croatian Glagolitic Alphabet and culture – the Glagolitic Alley. From the areas of Roč and Hum numerous hiking paths lead through the wooded slopes of Ćićarija's plateau up to the highest peak of the mountain and Nature Park Učka – Vojak (1396 m). Učka is also one of the last European locations where bird enthusiasts can see the impressive Griffon Vulture and the Golden Eagle.
In the area north and west of Motovun lie a few once economically important and today mostly quiet and slow small towns where beautifully decorated Istrian villas with swimming pools for family holidays can be found – Oprtalj, Grožnjan and Vižinada. Inside their old towns, where we can find beautiful examples of secular architecture in stone, it seems as if time has stopped and a walk through them is truly like going back in time.
South of Pazin is Žminj, a small town surrounded by numerous old Istrian houses and rural estates thoroughly renovated in local style and equipped to modern standards, which today represent agritourism and holiday homes offering not only accommodation, but often also Istrian cuisine based on ingredients of local and environmental production along with excellent wine and rakija.
The most southern settlement of Central Istria and also its artistic centre is Svetvinčenat, locally known as Savičenta, situated on a karst plateau and surrounded by maquis, meadows and vineyards. The Grimani Castle, churches and the beautiful Renaissance square make an ideal backdrop within which premium art events are organized.