|The lovely loggia in Oprtalj|
If you’ve explored any of Istria’s many medieval towns you probably came across a loggia, most likely at the town’s entrance or on a public square. This is a covered gallery, like a veranda or porch, which is open on at least one side. This architectural feature dates back to Venetian times – the loggias found in Istria were all built during the 16th century.
The loggia (loža in Croatian) was an important meeting place and the heart of a town's public and political life. Running along the walls are stone benches where noblemen, judges and community leaders would once sit and discuss important issues affecting the daily life of the community, with members of the public listening in on deliberations.
Here in Gračišće, the loggia is located at the main entrance gate which was once part of the fortified walls of the village. Decision makers no longer deliberate on the stone benches but they now occupy the upper floor, in the offices of the local municipality.
|Novigrad's seaside loggia|
In Novigrad, the loggia was built on the edge of the waterfront, with its arched windows looking out to the Adriatic Sea. This is the only loggia in Istria built directly on the seafront.
|View of Novigrad's loggia from the waterfront|
Grožnjan’s pillared loggia takes up the corner of a picturesque square.
|Inside Grožnjan’s loggia|
The upper floors used to house a court and prison, as well as a granary and a room where the town’s weights and measures were kept. Today this building is the municipal art gallery.
|Exterior view of the loggia in Grožnjan|
In Labin, the pillared loggia occupies a large square at the foot of this lovely hilltop town.
Hum is a tiny picturesque village which has been named the smallest town in the world. Its loggia has arched windows and sits on the main square just inside the entry gate. This is where the local men used to elect a local leader by using a wooden voting rod, the edges of which would be nicked with a knife to cast a vote. This custom was reintroduced in 1977.
|The loggia on Hum's main square|
The loggia is one architectural example of Venice's lasting legacy on the Istrian peninsula.