The Illuminating Lens

Istria – Dvigrad Ruins, Pula and Vodnjan – Croatian and Slovenian Trip – Part 7 – 2023

Dvigrad Ruins
We drove further north over bridges and through tunnels to the area in Croatia known as Istria.

We drove through a large residential area to our next home (#5) in Rovinj.  We would get to enjoy this large house for 3 nights.  We each had our own room with an ensuite bathroom, there was a pool and sauna (we did not have time for those amenities, unfortunately).  We were joined by Kresimer’s wife and 6-year-old son.

Our Rovinj home for 3 nights.


We went to dinner at a local Croatian restaurant and what a meal we had!  This was our first experience with the locally grown and processed olive oil. But more on that later.

On our first full day in Istria, Kresimer gave us an itinerary for several places nearby and he stayed back with his family.  Our first stop was the Dvigrad ruins.

All images were made with my Nikon Z8 and Nikon Z 24-200mm lens unless otherwise noted.

Info from Wikipedia

Dvigrad, is an abandoned medieval town in central Istria, Croatia. It is located in the Draga valley. The history of the settlement is prehistoric; it remained inhabited until the 18th century. It was first mentioned in the historical record in 879 but existed long before as a part of the Roman Empire. 

Tower ar Dvigrad Ruins


Inside the town.
Dvigrad Ruins


From here we were supposed to go to some other ruins but the entrance was blocked as they were renovating.  We got turned around on the toll road and headed for our next destination, Vodnjan.  Remember I mentioned the olive oil above, well, this part of Istria is known for olives and olive oil.  We checked out this very picturesque little town.

Vodnjan street.

We saw one of the smallest churches I have ever seen!

Tiny church. iPhone 14 Pro Max


Vodnjan cat!


Colorful Town Square!


We had driven through the town earlier and had been blocked in the narrow street by a car that was parked. When the driver came out to the car we saw that he had been in a bakery.  So when we were walking through the town I told my friends I wanted to check out that bakery.  We stopped in and I bought a yummy strudel!  When we walked out we realized there was an Olive Oil shop next door so we walked in.  One of our most memorable experiences happened here!  The proprietor greeted us in what I knew was not Croatian-accented English.  It turned out he was the Irish husband of the olive oil Sommelier whose family owned the Brist Olive Oil Farm.  He asked if we would like an olive oil tasting and we said “Sure”!  He had us stand at a small high table and pulled out a stack of small plastic cups and bottles of olive oil.  He gave us the history of olive oil in Croatia and the history of the Brist family farm. He told us about the varieties and different levels of quality of olive oil.  That stuff we buy in the supermarket is called “lamp oil” in top olive oil circles!  He poured a small amount of oil into each cup and told us to treat it a bit like fine wine.  Swirl it, smell it, sip it, and move it around on our tongues.  Each variety that they produce is slightly different in taste but the kicker is the “kick” each oil has.  That is what sets the Istrian oil apart from all others.  Due to the soil conditions, the oil has a high percentage of polyphenols which are very good for us and that is what gives the burning sensation.  He started with the oil that was the mildest and the final tasting was of their top oil and the burn was quite intense.

Brist Olive Oil Shop. iPhone 14 Pro Max


It was quite the experience.  I liked the oil so much that I purchased some from Amazon and then subsequently from an American distributor (Adriatic Gourmet)  that specializes in Croatian products.

We spent a little more time in this village.

Vodnjan balcony!


From there we drove to one of the port cities in Istria, Pula.   The main attraction in Pula is a huge Roman Amphitheater that unlike others in Europe is almost completely intact and is still used for events.

Panorama of the Pula Roman amphitheater. iPhone 14 Pro Max


Inside the amphitheater. iPhone 14 Pro Max


An adjacent church steeple through one of the arches of the amphitheater.


There is also a large fort that overlooks the harbor and city but after walking up the steep road to get to it, we were told we were too late!

So we headed back to the car and back to our home in Rovinj.

I highly recommend these historic and very olive oily locations.   Be sure to stop and taste what makes the Istria region of Croatia, Istria!

My next post will be about our next day in and around Rovinj!

To view larger versions of these images and many, many more and to purchase as prints or on other merchandise please visit my galleries:

Dvigrad Ruins, Vodnjan, and Pula.

That is all for now!


Lynn Wiezycki

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