Istria is Croatia’s popular tourist peninsula, and every summer, holidaymakers flock to its seaside cities, where crystal clear water, Adriatic ambiance and sunny weather makes a compelling cocktail. But Istria has more to offer its visitors than a delightful seascape. In the north and centre of the peninsula, small towns crown the many hills and reveal a landscape resembling Tuscany or Umbria. You can snorkel in the Adriatic in the morning, and go Truffle hunting in the afternoon. The quiet, almost deserted hilltown of Buzet surprises with a richness of architecture and spectacular views.
A medieval history
On a 150 metre high hill overlooking the Mirna river lie Buzet, with gorgeous views of the valley and surrounding area. It wasn’t because of the good views though, that people started settling on this hilltop. Already in prehistoric times, there was a hill fort watching over the road along the Mirna Valley. After the collapse of Rome, the whole region became unstable and was ravaged by barbaric tribes, forcing the inhabitants to leave the lowland settlements to withdraw to the well-protected areas of the hill towns.
A walk through the now quiet streets of Buzet is a journey through the Middle Ages, when the town was under Venetian rule. Much of the town was constructed during the 15th century. The Large Gate and Small Gate are from the end of the 16th Century and the Church of St George was built in 1611. Patricians and wealthy citizens erected a number of Renaissance and Baroque palaces, and Venetian captains, whose coats of arms today adorn numerous town monuments, undertook large-scale public works. This quiet town surprises visitors with the richness of architecture and spectacular views towards the rocky slopes of the neighbouring hills.
The White Gold of Istria: Truffles
The forest surrounding Buzet is the home to a buried treasure: The truffle. Both the black and the highly prized white truffle.
The white truffle season lasts from September until January, which is the perfect time to treat your palate to the taste of fresh, white truffles for the first time. Black truffles are collected during the whole year, depending on their sort.
The best time to sample the truffles is at the beginning of September when the Virgin Mary’s birthday is celebrated. Then Buzet becomes the centre of Istria’s chief gastronomic event; the Truffle days. To honour Virgin Mary, townspeople prepare a giant omelette filled with truffles in the town square, using 2.000 eggs and 10 kg of truffles!
There are numerous shops around Buzet selling different kinds of Truffle-related foodstuff. You can also visit the first Croatian truffle museum, spanning two floors and created by local truffle hunters; the Karlić family.
Top5 Things to Do in Buzet
- Eating or buying truffles
- Sit at a café along the city walls, enjoying the view
- Get lost in the quiet streets
- Find the Venetians captains’ different coats of arms on buildings
- Go on a truffle hunt