Numerous trails and paths can be used to explore the villages and small villages of this part of the municipality by bike, and to discover why wealthier people from noble families once upon a time chose this very area as the place to build their country estates. The area of this part of Istria, also known as terra rossa (red soil), is full of vineyards, whose vines produce top-quality wines. Numerous winemakers have recognized the importance of cultivating old vines and preserving the traditional Istrian wines. Do you need any more reasons to explore the surroundings of Sveti Martin on two wheels?
The cycling route begins in Sveti Martin, a place that is dominated by the Church of St. Martin and the “Battiala-Lazzarini” Palace. Apart from the Church of St. Martin with two side chapels and three altars, on the very edge of the town there is another church, of Our Lady of Health. Legend has it that the inhabitants of the village prayed to Our Lady to free them from the plague that raged at the beginning of the 17th century.
The trail will lead you in the direction of the small villages Ružići and Županići. In the immediate vicinity of the village of Županići, stop by the “Reški kol”, a pond in which various fish and frogs still live, while around the pond there are numerous plants that attract the attention of butterflies. You will continue in the direction of Stepančići and Santalezi, small villages with numerous high-quality holiday homes. The proximity to the sea, the view towards the slopes of Učka, and the tranquillity that reigns here surely make for the vacation you have always dreamed of.
You will come across a valuable example of cultural goods in the village of Snašići, where the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located, built in 1654 on the estate of Labin’s noble family Franković-Vlačić. You will then return to Martinski, which is enriched by the scent of the pine forest.
The Baroque-style country castle situated in the centre of Sveti Martin was commissioned by Labin’s noble family Lazzarini-Battiala in the 13th century. Legend has it that the family became rich by robbing merchant ships that were returning to the Middle East from Venice carrying money from the sale of slaves. Due to their power and loyalty to Venice, the Battiala family received the title of “counts”, while their coat of arms features the Phoenix firebird with the saying “Moriendo rinasitur” (by dying, one is reborn).
Today, the citadel houses the “Pineta” agritourism, and the entire complex is a protected cultural monument. Here you can try numerous dishes prepared according to the traditional recipe of the region, from ingredients produced and cultivated on the family farm. With a glass of Istrian Malvasia and red Merlot, you will want to come back soon to spend your vacation exploring the Municipality of Sveta Nedelja.
HighlightsAttractions: the Church of St. Martin, the Church of Our Lady of Health, Reški kol, the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Family farms and catering facilities: Pineta Family Farm, Licul Family Farm, Restaurant Tomažići.