Posted by: viewfromtheriva | November 22, 2013

Discovering Buzet, more than truffles!


What a glorious photo of Buzet’s  Stari Grad (Old Town), which looms above the lower village offering a spectacular view of the valley and Istria’s longest river, the Mirna.  Surrounded by forests, canyons, vineyards and valleys, Buzet was the perfect place to begin our adventure to the Istrian interior.

Celebrated as the “city of truffles”,  Buzet comes most alive when it celebrates its illustrious tuber with a fabulous festival during the first week of every  September, whipping up a giant 2000 egg omelet stuffed with $12,000 (10 kilos) of truffles!  Unfortunately, we were there last week, but did get to go truffle hunting with Ivan Karlic (see our blog “In search of the elusive truffle”).
Fritada Buzet
The town itself has an illustrious history dating back to the Bronze age (remains have been found in a nearby cave).  And there are significant remnants of the Romans, who were everywhere in this part of the world from the late 2nd C to the 5thC.  They were followed Byzantines, Croats, Slovenes and of course, the Venetians.  Then the Austro-Hungarians ruled here until the end of WW1.
The quirly wall mural opposite the Fontana Hotel greets all visitors

The quirky wall mural opposite the Fontana Hotel greets all visitors

In addition to sightseeing the city itself, the surround area is a real treat, starting with Hum, whom locals call “the smallest town in the world”.  Just 15 minutes away, it dates from 1102 and has an official population that varies between 15 and 25.  The town’s bell tower is one of the intriguing landmarks of this miniature metropolis.
Also nearby is Roc, another ancient settlement which has a great scenic overlook.  Just driving around the Buzet area is an adventure.  It’s a wonder that with all this glorious nature, how the town can be so prosperous when the chief occupation seems to be growing grapes and food crops.  So we asked some locals what keeps the town humming along and the answer was amazing:  with less than 7,000 inhabitants, the town boasts manufacturing plants making everything from car turbochargers. die cast aluminum precision car parts and plastic fireman’s helmets to Favorit beer, a delicious local brew that is rarely sold outside the region except for a few pubs in Omis, where the owner comes from!  All of these plants are tucked away in various nooks and crannies of the town so the bucolic nature of the place is still marvelously intact.
What a lesson for the rest of Croatia–a  balanced economy of tourism, sustainable agriculture and light manufacturing!
The town's famous Hotel Fontana recently got its third star with a vast renovation.  It now has suites, like this, as well as meeting rooms for small conferences.  With rates around 65R a night, it's a perfect place to stay, right in the center of the town!

The town’s famous Hotel Fontana recently got its third star with a vast renovation. It now has suites, like this, as well as meeting rooms for small conferences. With rates around 65E a night, it’s a perfect place to stay, right in the center of the town!

After just a few days in the region we realized it wasn’t enough….so next year, with napkins around our neck, we’re coming for the omelette!

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Responses

  1. Great stuff ! Really enjoyed following your Istrian adventure, and could almost taste the truffles omlette. Strange they can’t train the dogs not to eat them once they have found them – the smell is probably too overpowering and tempting for them to resist ! My upgrade to Windows 7 means I can now contact you via the blog !

    Bog Stari

    Rick M


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