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Deep in the Istrian interior and in the heart of the Mirna valley lies tranquil Buzet on a 151m-high hill overlooking the Mirna river. Like other towns in Istria, Buzet was once a part of the Venetian empire and bears eye-catching reminders of its days as a Venetian colony. Most of the town's monuments date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Venetian-style Large Gate and Small Gate date from the late 16th century and the town's most outstanding monument, the Church of St George was built in 1611. (See Buzet on a map of Istria)
There's not a lot going on in sleepy Buzet but it is known as the Istrian "Truffle Capital" as it's in the heart of truffle country. The best time to sample the truffles is at the beginning of September when the Virgin Mary's birthday is celebrated. To honour the saint, townspeople prepare a giant omelet filled with truffles in the town square.
Truffle Days extends throughout the autumn from the beginning of September through the end of November. Events take place mostly on weekends in Buzet, Motovun and nearby Livade. October is the season of the great white truffle. See the calendar of events at Istria Gourmet.
If you can't make it for the Virgin's birthday party or truffle days, come on the first Friday and third Thursday of the month for the local fair showcasing Istrian products. Otherwise, you could stop by the Istrian Heritage Museum for a look at the archaeological and ethnographic history of the region. See the website (in Croatian)
When they talk about Istria as the "new Tuscany" the gorgeous interior is what inspired the comparison. Around Buzet lie some of Istria's most original, off-the-beaten-track destinations. Vrh is a village to the southeast of Buzet that is renowned for its sparkling wine. Besides the vineyards that have been cultivated for over 100 years there are also olive trees and olive-oil mills. Also to the southeast is Roc, a fortified small town (population 17!) that was once the centre of Glagolitic writing. A series of sculptures on "Glagolitic lane" outside town, commemorates Roc's place in history. Not too far away (7km to the southeast) is "the world's smallest town" --Hum--with a population of about eight. Still, there's a town museum where you can buy the local brandy, biska.
Buzet has a train station! Trains connect Buzet with Pula (two hours) and buses connect it with Porec (one hour). Find out more about getting around Croatia by train. Buzet is a pretty drive from almost everywhere in Istria.
Should you decide to stay in Buzet, the best accommodation is the Boutique Hotel Vela Vrata, (left) a four-star, beautifully done hotel.
For more modest budgets, try the Hotel Fontana in the town centre but private accommodation in or around the town would be much more agreeable. The tourist office can put you in touch with owners.
The tourist office (tel 052-662 043) is at Trg Fontana. Hours are irregular.
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