Wednesday 20 July 2011


Novigrad is in Istria, Croatia, not far from the more well-known seaside resort of Porec. One of the town's features is a kind of loggia that stands all on its own, unattached to any larger building. These municipal loggia were typical of Istria, and placed on the external side of fortified walls. The one in Novigrad dates from the 16th Century. I imagine that these loggia were viewing points, places where the citizens could go and admire the view, i.e. when and if the town wasn't under siege.

Margaret and myself recently spent several days in Novigrad, which had the uncluttered relaxed air of an Irish seaside town in the 1960s, except that the weather was better. The first time I saw this loggia it reminded me forcefully of a painting by Magritte. Not any painting in particular, but for me the sight of the loggia standing alone (why wasn't it attached to a palace or something?), with its three windows looking out on empty sea, as in the above photo, evoked a strong impression of Magritte's style of surrealism.

How fast the horizon flies where suddenly
after aeons upon aeons of empty sea
a petrol tanker's spit of flame ignites.
(from Eugenio Montale's 'La Casa dei Doganieri', in my own translation.)

Speaking of Montale reminds me that we noticed (or rather, heard) a lot of Italian holidaymakers in Novigrad during our stay. Istria was historically a colony of Venice on account of its salt-works, and the Italian connection is long established. Anyway, it is not a very long drive from Trieste to Novigrad.

 Photos by Margaret (not Magritte)

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