Istria is a proof that nature presents us with premium fruits if we safeguard the treasures entrusted to us for use
This region is special due to the biological diversity, opulent flora and special microclimate characteristics. Natural processes in progress for many years enabled the unification of an exceptional flora and fauna world and thus Istria truly is abundant with wonders of nature. Among regions protected by the law these are natural reserves: National Park Brijuni, Nature Park Učka, protected landscape Limski zaljev, forest park Zlatni rt and ornithological reserve Palud, forest park Šijana, protected landscape Kamenjak and Motovun forest abundant with truffles.
Grey and Green Istria
Due to the flysch layers and the huge quantities of clay and its grey colour, central Istria is also known as Grey Istria. Since flysch layers are waterproof, the many streams have created numerous ravines through which rainfalls are descending. An important part of that region of Istria are the valleys of rivers Mirna and Raša with their tributaries, and their form is conditioned by the composition of rocks – in areas where softer flysch layers are predominant, rivers have a wide tributaries network while in areas with harder rocks rivers have incised deep and steep canyons. Due to the flourishing fauna, this area, especially the area surrounding Pazin and Buzet, is also known as Green Istria.
Owing to waterproof flysch layers, central Istria is not lacking water, and the diversity of its water treasures includes rivers, streams and lakes as well as many groundwater springs.
The most important surface watercourses are Mirna, Raša, Boljunčica and Dragonja as well as the subterranean river Pazinčica. Mirna is the longest Istrian river most abundant with water. It is 53 km long, it springs near Buzet and flows into the Adriatic Sea near Novigrad. Together with its tributaries Butoniga and Krvara, Mirna is the natural border of the Motovun municipality in the west, north and northeast. From Buzet to the mouth, the river flow is slightly descending and during average water level it is relatively peaceful and that’s probably why the river was named Mirna (Croatian: peaceful).
The overall Motovun municipality is a water supply area with 3 springs of potable water (underneath the settlement Beletićev brijeg, underneath the city Motovun and near the small village Šćulci) and 6 capped springs (near the small village Rudela, in Divjaki, near Sv. Bartol, in the small village Valenti, in Vela besides Murar and south from the small village Klarići). It is also often possible to see karst puddles, small and shallow water habitats resulting from the accumulation of water in the hollows in the soil.
Owing to the specific microclimate and the favourable influence of the river Mirna, the area of Motovun and its surroundings is very fertile. The terrain is most suitable for viticulture and olive-growing as well as for growing vegetables, but the most prevalent product are wines. The most often produced varieties are Istrian Malvazija, Muscat, Chardonnay, Grey and White Pinot, Teran, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Increasingly produced are olive oils which, just like wines, are a synonym of Istrian lifestyle. Olive oil is often used as the only ingredient for meals, for emphasizing the natural flavour of cheese, fresh vegetables, seafood, meat or pasta dishes. Istrian olive oils are most often produced from varieties Istrian bjelica, frantoio, leccino, bugla and črnica.
Motovun forest is the biggest rounded habitat of three black truffle varieties (Tuber Aestivum, Tuber Brumale and Tuber Uncinatum) as well as the famous Istrian white truffle (Tuber Magnatum Pico). They are most often found underneath pedunculate oak trees growing alongside the river Mirna and these oaks are also distinctive for the Istrian flora because they are usually characteristic for continental valley parts of Croatia.