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Motovun ( or Montona d'Istria) is a village in central Istriamarker, Croatiamarker. The population of the village itself is 531, with a total of 983 residents in the municipality (2001); 442 of the residents have Italian as their mother language. The Parenzaner Bahn, which was a railway that ran from Triestemarker to Porečmarker between 1902-1935 passed through the town.

It is a medieval town situated on a hill above sea level with houses scattered all over the hill. It is a typical example of Venetian colonial architecture. The city gate dates from the 15th century. On the inner walls are several coats-of-arms of different Motovun ruling families and two gravestones of Roman inhabitants (dating from the 1st century). The city wall dates from the 12-13th century.

The late-Renaissance church of St. Stephen was probably designed by the architect Andrea Palladio. The church contains several works of art: the marble statues of St. Stephen and St. Laurence by Francesco Bonazzo and the 17th-century painting of the Last Supper over the altar by an unknown Venetian artist. The water cisterns in the square in front of the church date from the 14th and 15th centuries.

The municipal palace is the largest secular building in Istria from the Renaissance period.

On the slopes of the hill, grapes for famous Istrian wines are grown: the Teran and the Malvazija wine. The river Mirna flows below the hill and on the other side of the river there is the famous Motovun forest, rich with prized black and white truffles. These became popular through Vladimir Nazor's novel Veli Jože, about a well-tempered peasant giant who "lived" there.

Since 1999, Motovun has hosted the international Motovun Film Festival for independent and avant-garde films from the U.S. and Europe.

The biggest current local issue is the battle between foreign developers, who have proposed two 18-hole golf courses and a 500+-bed resort in the valley below the town, extending the existing 9-hole course and some of the local community, who are opposed to the proposals because of objections against the real estate speculation aroun dthe project, rejection of 123 building sites for villas in the protected natural environment and concerns about possible damage to their truffles growing on the other side of the river. The community is divided on the issue, as many welcome the development as a year round aid to jobs and local tourist revenues. An environmental impact study has now been completed.

Motovun's ground plan is depicted on the reverse of the Croatian 10 kuna banknote, issued in 1993, 1995, 2001 and 2004.

Notable residents

  • Motovun was the birthplace of race car driver Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo in 1940. The brothers raced hand-crafted wooden cars through the steep streets. After World War II Istria became a part of Croatia, a sovereign constituent unit of Yugoslaviamarker. His family, like many other ethnic Italians, emigrated. They lived in a camp near Pescaramarker from 1948 to 1955. The Andretti family resettled in Nazareth, Pennsylvaniamarker, United Statesmarker.


  • Motovun was also the birthplace of prominent Renaissance Italian music printer Andrea Antico.


Gallery

File:Old Church in Motovun.JPG|The Old Church in MotovunFile:Street in Motovun.JPG|A street in MotovunFile:Stadttor in motovun.jpg|City gate

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