The route starts from the main square in Vižinada next to the baroque cistern, behind which there is the old city warehouse or fontik that was several times expanded in different stylistic nuances. Thus, two Venetian lion heads found their place on the façade. The lower lion is situated on the so-called “tariff” stone (delle tariffe), on which during the Venetian rule taxes were chiselled in, that had to be paid for the loading and unloading of goods at the port of Baštija on the river Mirna. This is also the place where we are heading today. We start next to the main parish church dedicated to Saint Jerome, the first translator of the Bible into Latin, who, according to legend, came from Istria. From the small plateau on the back of the church you have a fantastic view over the river Mirna valley, where we are heading to. We are descending through cultivated vineyards and olive groves that alternate with fields and forests. After that we are descending to the famous Motovun forest – with its wood the brilliant city of Venice was built – and we make a wide turn through the forest that brings us after almost 3.5 kilometres to the basin of the river Mirna, a former very important connection, on which the valuable wood from the Motovun forest has been transported to the sea, and upstream goods for the needs of the villagers from the interior of Istra. During Roman times the river Mirna boats could probably go all the way to Buzet, but since the basin of the river was not cleaned and maintained, the riverbed rose and the basin considerably shrunk, so boats could use only a smaller section of the river. In the 20th century the stream of the river Mirna was regulated, so that the once meandering riverbed is now almost completely straight and the once wild river has been tamed completely. Only after heavy rains the river basin is filled with water and the Mirna floods the fertile valley, showing its real face. We follow the gentle stream of the river on the southern side of the basin to Ponte Porton (8 km), which is from ancient times an important traffic junction, with roads heading in direction Vižinada, Buje, Grožnjan, Buzet, Kostajnica, Završje, Livade and Pietrapelosa castle. And even today this is a significant traffic intersection. At the former old bridge Ponte Porton there was a gamekeeper’s house and on the other side a guesthouse with accommodation. For centuries there also was the small port Baštija that was of great importance for the whole area, because, besides the transport of wood, it allowed the locals to trade their local products and connect with the world. In the Middle Ages, the river Mirna was navigable until here, from where flat bottom ships and boats, fully loaded with wood, using their sails and the eastern wind, sailed towards the sea, and returning upstream carried by the mistral wind, carrying different goods. On one side of the river, where capes create lee, the strong seamen from Kostajnica pushed and pulled the ships by means of forcada (forked poles) and alzana (tow ropes).
Our route crosses here the main road and we head back to Vižinada, leaving the river Mirna behind us and ascending on a forest path that on the 9th kilometre touches the serpentine of the main road and continues uphill through the forest in direction southwest. Somewhat before the 11th kilometre we leave the forest and come to a clearing, i.e. fertile fields and vineyards. The route is still ascending through the fertile land, now in direction southeast towards the village of Vranje Selo (12 km) and after that several hundred metres on the main road direction north to the village of Bajkini. Here we arrive at the 13th kilometre to the highest point of our route (277 m). This is a very wine-growing district and here high-quality olive oil is produced, so that you can get refreshments at some local winemaker or olive grower. We continue for a couple of more kilometres and arrive at the main road Vižinada – Poreč, where we turn left (direction east) and return to Vižinada. We return to the starting point of today’s route, to the street bearing the name of Carlotta Grisi, the celebrated ballerina born in Vižinada, for which the title role of the famous romantic ballet Giselle has been written. We hope that you will also return from today’s walk light-footed like the famous ballerina.