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Meet Grožnjan, the Artist's Town

by Emanuela Štokovac Radoš
Drawing on the enchantment of Istria, one of Croatia's most captivating regions, Grožnjan has become not only a picturesque town but also the epicenter of cultural diversity and artistic inspiration. At the heart of this idyllic town, nestled on a picturesque hill, stands a person whose dedication and passion for promoting Grožnjan as an essential tourist destination bring increasing radiance to this little corner of paradise.
In this interview, we will have the opportunity to delve into the thoughts and ideas of Emanuela Štokovac Radoš, the director of the Grožnjan Tourist Board, and discover how Grožnjan has become an indispensable stop on Croatia's cultural map.
What are the most significant cultural monuments in Grožnjan?
The ones I can certainly highlight and recommend to visitors are the Church of Sts. Vitus, Modest and Crescentia, the Town Gate, the Castle, and the Granary with Loggia. Owing to its cultural value and unique spirit, the whole town is a cultural landmark with a status of a protected urban complex entered in the Register of Croatian Cultural Monuments.
How would you describe the atmosphere and the character of Grožnjan?
It is unique, magical, and artistically inspiring. This little medieval settlement perched on a hilltop in Istria has a special charm that captivates everyone who visits it. Grožnjan is a small community with only 100 permanent residents, which creates an intimate and pleasant atmosphere. The locals are open-hearted and ready to share their love of art and culture.
Why is Grožnjan known as the ‘town of artists’?
Grožnjan bears the title of the ‘town of artists’ due to its rich and lively art scene, which attracts artists from all over the world. Surrounded by natural beauty and a lovely Istrian landscape, it is a quiet and inspirational setting for creating artwork. Here, visitors have the chance to meet the artists in their workshops and at exhibitions, which contributes to an authentic and interactive art experience.
How would you describe the local art scene, and how important you think it is for Grožnjan’s identity?
It has a key role in making Grožnjan special and attractive to artists, visitors, and art lovers from all over the world. The art scene is immensely important for the identity of the town. Not only does it attract visitors and tourists, but it also creates a unique atmosphere, reflecting the spirit of the place. Artists and creative souls have become an integral part of the local community, enriching the social and cultural life of Grožnjan.
The traditional Jazz is Back! festival has been attracting musicians from all over the world who keep returning to it. Can you tell us more about this event?
The Jazz is Back!BP festival is one of the most significant musical events not only in Grožnjan, but on a regional and national level too. It was initiated by Croatian legend Boško Petrović back in 1999, and today it is organised by Jeunesses Musicales Croatia (Hrvatska Glazbena Mladež). The festival offers a rich programme featuring various jazz genres, from the traditional jazz to modern improvisations and jazz fusion. Visitors can enjoy concerts, jam sessions, musical workshops, and panels, which contribute to a dynamic jazz music experience.
Are there any other events and manifestations not to be missed in Grožnjan?
Yes, there are more events that will enrich the stay of tourists in this lovely artistic town. The first among them is the ‘Ex Tempore’ international painting manifestation, which gathers painters from all over the world. Moreover, Grožnjan offers traditional events held in local villages in honour of the town’s patron saint, as well as sports events organised by the Grožnjan Mountain Bike Club. The forest poets near the Butori waterfall are also worth a visit. In addition to these, Grožnjan boasts several other events and cultural activities throughout the year.
What are the characteristic features of the Grožnjan landscape and architecture?
The municipality of Grožnjan boasts a beautiful rural landscape that includes hills, vineyards, olive groves, and forests. In the villages that belong to the municipality, you can see traditional country houses and buildings made of stone, which have their own unique rustic charm. Visitors will be enchanted by the richness and diversity of the landscape, as well as the opportunity to experience the Istrian lifestyle, which is deeply rooted in tradition and nature.
How can visitors make the most of their time in Grožnjan?
Strolling along the narrow, cobbled streets and exploring the rich cultural heritage, visiting art ateliers and galleries to experience the creative spirit of the town, attending the cultural events and festivals, enjoying the panoramic views, visiting the nearby villages, tasting Istrian food and wines, exploring the nature, and meeting the locals are all great ways to make the most of one’s time in Grožnjan.
Where do you like to spend your time in Grožnjan?
I prefer to come to Grožnjan in the evening, when the town quiets down, and walk the streets to experience the artistic inspiration that lurks behind every corner. I like to photograph the beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding hills and vineyards, as well as details scattered all around the town.


Emanuela Štokovac Radoš

Senior Expert Associate for Development Projects and Procurement, Single Administrative Department, Grožnjan Municipality

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