Until the mid-1960s, Grožnjan, 27km northeast of Poreč, was slipping towards oblivion. First mentioned in 1102, this hilltop town was a strategically important fortress for the 14th-century Venetians. They created a system of ramparts and gates, and built a loggia, a granary and several fine churches. With the collapse of the Venetian empire in the 18th century, Grožnjan suffered a decline in its importance and population.
In 1965 sculptor Aleksandar Rukavina and a small group of other artists ‘discovered’ the crumbling medieval appeal of Grožnjan and began setting up studios in the abandoned buildings. As the town crawled back to life, it attracted the attention of Jeunesses Musicales International, an international training programme for young musicians. In 1969 a summer school for musicians, Jeunesses Musicales Croatia, was established in Grožnjan and it has been going strong ever since. Each year there are music, orchestra and ballet courses and recitals. Throughout the summer, concerts and musical events are held almost daily. You can hear the musicians practising while you browse the many craft shops and galleries of this tiny town, comprised of a jumble of crooked lanes and leafy squares.