The beautiful view from Grožnjan out to the coast © Istra Photonet
The self-styled ‘Town of Artists’ is full of little galleries and boutique shops selling art, handmade jewellery, wine and olive oil.
Grožnjan (Italian Grisignana) is, like Motovun, one of the more popular of the Istrian hill towns, helped no doubt by its relative proximity to the northwest coast. It is a pretty little town, with a well-preserved old medieval centre and fine views over the Mirna Valley. Despite having been left largely deserted after the Italian exodus that followed World War II, the municipality of Grožnjan today has a higher proportion of people describing Italian as their first language than anywhere else in Istria. Artists in particular were encouraged to move to the largely depopulated town from the late 1960s onwards, and today the self-styled ‘Town of Artists’ is full of little galleries and boutique shops selling art, handmade jewellery, wine, olive oil, etc. Full being a relative term, of course – Grožnjan, like other Istrian hill towns, is still a fairly sleepy place, and has fewer than 100 inhabitants.