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Location of Scarlett
Great Things to Do Near Scarlett
There is no better way to experience Istrian daily life first hand than with a visit to the market. Motovun's is held on the third Monday of every month and sells fresh fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs along with local handicrafts and souvenirs.
Whilst there, take a walk around the town walls and wonder at the fabulous views. The forest land you see in the Mirna Valley is rich in truffles, a revered delicacy in Istria.
offers a mini market and café bar, the Monte Carlo. But stroll down into the old town for stunning views across to Motovun and look inside the Romanesque church of St Barnabus which dates from the 12th century. 15th century frescoes and Glagolitic graffiti are much in evidence and these were restored and cleaned in 2000. Vizinada was the birthplace of renowned ballerina Carlotta Grisi, star of ballet stages in London, Paris, Milan, Vienna and St Petersburg during the mid 19th century. Cultural events occasionally take place in the town commemorating her life.
You'll have noticed all the Italian influences in the place names, the architecture and the food, well make a visit to nearby Zavraje which has its own leaning tower! The belfry here, 22 metres high, has an inclination of 40 centimetres. Take your camera, it's the most beautiful little village!
Visit nearby Oprtalj, an impressive medieval hilltop town of narrow cobbled streets, small piazzas and buildings in baroque and gothic style, situated across the Mirna Valley from the house. This truly is an atmospheric spot!
Gradski Muzej, Umag
Pay a visit to the Gradski Muzej (Town Museum) at Umag (tel. 052 720 385 and open 1000-1200 & 1900-2200 except Monday). Here, within the town's fortress, you can see Roman archaeological objects such as vessels, pots and lamps. The premises also house a contemporary art museum.
Try and catch a performance at Pula's Amphitheatre known locally as the Arena. Performers such as Elton John, Zucchero and Norah Jones have staged concerts here in recent years and it is the venue for the annual Pula Film Festival usually held in late July. What better setting?
Fancy Purchasing some Fresh, Locally Produced, Olive Oil?
From Oprtalj, take the road to Motovun but turn left shortly after leaving Oprtalj signposted Bencani and Ipsi. When you reach Ipsi, look for Claudio Ipsa on the right hand side - this is the name of the olive oil producer. A very personal service awaits you to help you choose your olive oil, truffle products are also on sale. Tel. 052 644 216.
grows wild throughout Istria and is ready for picking in the spring. You will see stalls at the roadside offering bundles of freshly collected examples, selling for just a few kuna. The locals braise the tops in olive oil until tender and then add eggs, salt and pepper. The result? Delicious scrambled eggs (fritaja).
Visit Istarske Toplice, Istri's most popular inland health resort whose sulphurous waters are said to ease back pain, rheumatism and skin complaints. The indoor swimming pool of the Hotel Mirna (tel. 052 664 300) is fed by spring water which emerges ready warmed from nearby cliffs.
Head for the Beach at Dajla,
on the coast between Novigrad and Umag. Originally a little fishing harbour, it has a sheltered rocky beach.
Groznjansko Glazbeno Ljeto (Groznjan Music Summer)
Head north west to the medieval hilltop town of Groznjan. Since 1969 the town has been the International Cultural Centre of Musical Youth. Strolling around Groznjan at any time of year, you're certain to hear the echo of music being practiced or performed whilst from the beginning of June through to the end of September there are many evening jazz and classical concerts.
Groznjan is a great destination for a lazy lunch and a wander.
It affords wonderful views out to sea or inland towards the Ucka Mountains, or north to the Julian Alps but was abandoned by its mainly Italian inhabitants after World War II. 20 years later, it was re-established by a number of artists and craftsmen who exhibit their work in their studios and shops. Pictures, drawings, pottery, ceramics, hand made jewellery and other crafts are displayed in abundance.
Hum - The Smallest Town in the World
Head east towards the Ucka Mountains to the town of Hum, a fine example of a small medieval town situated on a ridge dominating the surrounding landscape. It has town walls and gate, a loggia and a parish church. Legend suggests that some building materials were left over after a project of town building in the Mirna Valley, enough to create a miniature town, hence Hum was born.
Driving around Istria, look for the kazun, a conical, beehive-shaped field hut built using the dry-stone technique, without any mortar or concrete. Shepherds used them for shelter as well as for storage of agricultural implements. The kazun has become emblematic of traditional Istria.
Purchase your Daily Bread!
Bread in Istria is delicious. Many varieties are readily available either in dedicated bakeries, mini markets or supermarkets, always freshly baked every day. You'll find white and brown loaves and rolls, many seeded or with nuts, the range is endless. Brioche and croissants are also plentiful. A number of restaurants also bake their own fresh bread such as the Istarska Konoba at Bujici, on the right hand side as you head towards Porec, on the road from Zbandaj.
Zavicajni Muzej Buzet (Buzet Regional Museum)
Featuring archaeological, historical and ethnographical items from the entire Buzet region. (Tel. 052 662 792, check for opening days/times). Incidentally, there are two market days each month in Buzet: the first Friday and the third Thursday.
The Castle of Sipar
Follow the coast road north from Umag where, between the small villages of Katoro and Zambratija, there is a tiny peninsula (sometimes an islet depending on the tides!) which exhibit the ruins of an ancient fort, the Castle of Sipar. Archaeological finds in the vicinity tell of the town's existence as far back as Roman times. Sadly, some remains have been discovered out to sea confirming the gradual sinking of the coast.
Pay a visit to Savudrija on the far north west coast of Istria
Here you will see the tallest lighthouse on the Adriatic. Built in 1818, it has been beautifully preserved and is still operating. The locals also maintain an old tradition of keeping their fishing boats hung on wooden constructions on the beach
Take a drive on road number 64, specifically the stretch between the villages of Gracisce and Pican.
From these two vantage points, absorb the unique panorama of the valley from which Mount Ucka, the highest peak in Istria, rises (to 1,396 metres).