Poreč developed on a small symmetrical peninsula long before the arrival of the Histrians, an Illyrian tribe. Today the centre of the old city is located on this small peninsula. With the arrival of the Histrians the area surrounding the present-day city was settled, and thanks to a naturally protected harbour the construction of a harbour-centre was enabled and Poreč could develop unhindered.
Preserved records by Ancient Greek historians and geographers from the 6th and 4th centuries BC mention a small fishing village, and archaeological findings tell us of the homes of the people of the time. A Roman settlement was constructed around the 2nd century BC which, with the natural harbour, developed into a military fort over time. The silhouette of a city is visible in the geometrically symmetrical placement of the streets. The City of Poreč has preserved this appearance with the main streets Cardo Maximus and Decumanus as well as the centrally located Forum. Poreč was granted city or municipio status, during the first half of the 1st century and was granted the name Colonia Iulia Parentium.
During Roman rule in the area of Poreč, in the 3rd century the first bishop of Poreč, Bishop Mavar, was a victim of one of the Christian persecutions. After a cruel martyr's death the Bishop was declared a saint and the City's patron.
In the Roman Imperial period (1st - 3rd centuries) the greatest classical monuments in Croatia were built in Pula. The most magnificent and surely central classical monument is the Amphitheater popularly called the Arena. This Amphitheater, used for fights and battles of men and animals, was built in the 1st century AD, during the rule of Emperor Vespasian. The ground plan is elliptical, its size being about 130 m x 105 m, and 32 m high, which ranks it as the sixth largest Roman amphitheater existing today. The Arena could once hold up to 23,000 spectators, whereas today it can seat some 5,000 people.
The most famous and important monument, the starting and ending point of every sightseeing tour is the Amphitheater, popularly called the Arena of Pula, which was once the site of gladiator fights. It was built in the 1st century AD during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, at the same time as the magnificent Colosseum in Rome.
The Romans introduced a new type of organization in Istria, just as throughout entire Europe they were the first to start the urbanization, building roads and connecting towns, thus greatly encouraged the development of trade. Istria is famous as a region rich in high quality stone, a fact well known to the Romans, so today there are numerous places along the west coast of Istria that were once Roman quarries from which stone was taken to erect their magnificent buildings.
Large parts of the best land were turned into state properties (ager publicus) which were then peopled by Roman colony and retired soldiers-veterans. Many estates belonged to emperors, members of their families and friends. They erected villae rusticae which served as homes or summer residences and for manufacturing various products. Numerous sites, nearly 300 classical sites have been registered in Istria; speak of the kiln workshops and those for the production of earthenware, for making and dyeing cloth, brickyards and workshops for amphorae of which the one in Červar near Poreč supplied amphorae for emperors.
The Romanesque-Gothic bell tower with a crenulated crown from the 13th century, standing next to the Parish Church of St. Stephen from the 17th century, dominates the town's historic core. In the central square is the Romanesque Municipal Palace, the largest secular building in Istria of that period surrounded by many other historic buildings. As Motovun has long since been an attractive and popular tourist destination accommodation is offered in the town centre, in hotel Kaštel situated in the restored palace of the Polesini family.
Motovun is the perfect venue for a large number of events, the most significant among them being the International Motovun Film Festival that takes place at the end of July where world-known film artists may be seen. Motovun is also interesting for ballooning lovers, its favourable microclimate enables flying in balloons all year round, so that Motovun hosts several ballooning events.
Motovun is surrounded by vineyards from which the finest Istrian wines, white wine Malvasia and red wine Teran, are produced. The entire area is dotted with excellent local ‘konobe’ and restaurants.
One of the most 'photogenic' towns in the Mediterranean, once a fishing town, today is a tourist resort. At a distance of some 40 kilometres from Pula, Rovinj has long been known as the town with favourable and beneficial climatic features. So, today its people are still proud of this long tradition and 'fight' for the title of 'healthy town'... The rest is nature’s work. The entire coastline, with its twenty-two islands is an area of protected natural heritage.
Feel the enchantment of the town in its narrow medieval streets and warm Mediterranean setting. The main Church of St. Euphemia keeps relics of the saint and presents one of the most beautiful Baroque achievements in Istria. From the church plateau there is a wonderful view of the open sea and numerous islets in the distance. A visit to the Rovinj Town Museum and the town’s many galleries will complete your cultural experience.