Motovun sits at the "Crossroads of Memories" - a mix of cultures, each leaving its mark on the history, tradition and culture of this peaceful land. Ancient Rome, Venice, France and Austria-Hungary - empires that have vied for Istria, enriching its heritage. Motovun is an ancient guardian of central Istria, a destination rich in culture, gastronomy and enchanting terroir.
Motovun is a city-monument, an ancient Istrian acropolis city situated on the top of a 277m hill whose current appearance originates from the Middle Ages, the 12th and 13th century. The longest Istrian stairway with 1052 stairs leads to the top of the Motovun hill and its Venetian town square. From the rich construction heritage of Motovun, we give special attention to the city door with a tower, the renaissance palace, the city lodge, the parish church of St. Stjepan, the smaller churches of Madonna dei Servi and Madonna delle porte, the medieval arrangement of the streets, the city tank and many emblems on the front of buildings. The position and landscape of Motovun make it one of the most beautiful older cities of the Mediterranean. Hotel Kaštel is located on the main town square, in a 17th century palace.
Vineyards are spread all around Motovun where the grapes for the famous Istrian wines Teran and Malvasia grow, while the Motovun forest, which spreads kilometres through the Mirna valley is the habitat for the famous underground mushroom called the truffle which is dug out in this area with the help of specially trained dogs. Summer and early autumn is the time the black truffles grow (Tuber Aestivium) and during late autumn and winter the tastiest and expensive white truffles are taken out (Tuber magnatum-Pico). In October the Days of Truffles are marked in several places in the Mirna valley, and meals with truffles are the pride and offer of the hotels and restauarants in and around Motovun.
For a town of less than one thousand residents, Motovun has certainly had more than its share of famous. Formula 1 Champion Mario Andretti was born here. His childhood days were spent racing his tiny wooden car through the cobbled, narrow streets, just as he would later race his Lotus F1 car across the tracks around the world. Croatian writer Vladimir Nazor dreamed up the iconic gentle giant Veli Jože, while Miroslav Šutej, one of the greatest contemporary visual artists, created the Croatian coat of arms and flag in his Motovun home. The town has always attracted extraordinary and creative individuals, and among others it was a home to Josef Ressel, one of the inventors of a ship’s propeller.
Across from Motovun are the picturesque towns of Oprtalj and Livade, known for the Days of Truffles which are held there from September to November. In Livade, which is also called the international centre for truffles, a special festival is organized each year with a contest for the largest truffle. The traditional game of “throwing the horn” is an integral part of the festivities - on Ash Wednesday, the men compete in throwing wooden sticks as close as possible to the horn. It is thrown in several series, and the game goes from the top of the Motovun hill to its bottom.
The traditional Motovun local festivity, which marks the anniversary of the sanctification of the Motovun parish church, St. Stjepan, is held on August 2 along with many entertaining and cultural programs. The international Motovun film festival, established in 1999, gathers up to twenty thousand film fans during the beginning of August. Hotel Kaštel is a regular host for the festive events, from accommodating the participants and guests of the festival to evening parties and night-time projections on the hotel terrace.
Where to stay
A luxurious getaway showcasing superb “tastes of Istria”. Perched on a hillside, beneath the gentle shadow of Motovun, discover incredible wines, heritage cuisine and a truly relaxed way of ...
San Canzian Village & Hotel, with its authentic Istrian heritage and rural architecture, is where the traditional meets the modern, a unique experience in the heart of the Istrian countryside.
The Hotel Kastel is located in the centre of one of the most beautiful towns in Europe - Motovun. A cosy, family hotel offering quality accommodation, gastronomic delicacies and relaxation.
"Villa Marija only offered breakfast - it was less like a hotel than a small B&B, and breakfast was in the bedroom, on balcony. Very homely. The hostess was lovely."
R Swain, UK, Oct 2015
"Amazing country, amazing holiday. Package helpfully and expertly put together by rediscover to meet my many requirements. Is always slightly challenging for us to find suitable accommodation as a father with two older teens, so I really appreciate the effort that was made to find us proper triple rooms in friendly family run hotels in amazing locations. If I had been a bit more sensible, we should probably have cut out the one night stays (2 nights in Dubrovnik rather than 3 would have been adequate), but had we done so we would have missed out on the amazing hotel in Motovun for example, and I loved everywhere we stayed."
E Hunter, UK, August, 2015