The roads that link Groznjan (Grisignana), Buje (Buie), and Momjan (Momiano) are narrow, steep, and winding, but they snake through some of the most scenic real estate in Istria. Along the way you'll discover a ruined castle (Momjan), a World War II monument dedicated by Tito (Buje), and one of the prettiest hill towns anywhere in Croatia (Groznjan).
Buje is a short hop from Novigrad and the town itself is fairly uninteresting, except for an 18th-century church (Sv. Servula Mucenika) and a monument and plaque commemorating Tito's 1954 visit to the town. At that time, Tito became an honorary citizen of Buje and dedicated the World War II monument to the freedom fighters from the area. The road out of Buje northeast toward Momjan is a jumping-off point for both the wine and olive oil roads of the region as it meanders through vineyards and olive groves past wineries, Taverna Marino, and even the ruins of Momjan castle. The Momjan area is a good place to try the region's outstanding wines, especially those from the Kozlovic winery, which has a beautiful tasting room built into the original 100-year-old winery building.
The tiny hilltop village of Groznjan south of Momjan was almost deserted 45 years ago after most of its Italian population left for economic opportunity. In 1965, the town saw an influx of artists, who took over the town and saved it from extinction by renovating the Old Town core. Since then, Groznjan has blossomed into a full-fledged artist's colony replete with galleries, shops, restaurants, and a summer jazz festival in July and August that attracts big-name talent and plenty of fans. If you can't get there for a performance, you can stop at one of the village's pleasant restaurants for a bite and listen to the mellow sounds emanating from all corners of the village during daytime practice sessions. It is also fun to poke around the maze of small cobbled streets, a loggia, gates, walls, and a church with good frescoes. In keeping with Groznjan's title as a "town of artists," numerous shops and ateliers in town sell original paintings, pottery, and jewelry made by local craftspeople.
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