One of the most scenic routes heading out of Buzet is the one that climbs southwards to the hamlet of Svi Sveti (actually more of a road junction than a place), then follows a mountain ridge towards Cerovlje on the Pazin–Rijeka road. With the Mirna valley to the east and the Butoniga basin way down to the west, the ridge offers some of the best views of inland Istria's lumpish landscape, with pudding-basin hills rising up above a patchwork of forests, vineyards, pumpkin patches and cornfields.To see this landscape at its best, consider a brief detour to the hilltop village of SOVINJAK, 6km west of Svi Sveti on a side road that loops back towards Istarske Toplice.There's not much there apart from a corral of ochre and brown houses drawn tightly around a dumpy-looking church, but it's an undeniably beautiful spot, its grassy ramparts looking out over the bottle-green woodland of the Buzet region, busy with truffle-hunters and their dogs during the autumn. Two kilometres east of Sovinjak, the hamlet of Sovinjsko Polje is home to the Toklarija one of the nicest restaurants in Istria, if not the whole country. An atmospheric, intimate place housed in a venerable stone building with an oil press in the front room, it's famous for home-made pasta and seasonal local products –asparagus in spring, mushrooms and truffles in autumn – none of which comes cheap. If you can't get a table at Toklarija, then try Konoba Nolte, by the roadside another 2km east in Kozari, which has tasty Istrian staples like fritaja (omelette with various fillings) and njoki, as well as truffle dishes in season.

Returning to Svi Sveti and rejoining the southbound route to Cerov1je brings you after 10km to DRAGUC, a tiny village stranded among haystacks and cornfields on a thin finger of highland pointing west towards the lowlands of the Mirna basin. At the end of the finger, the fourteenth-century Chapel of St Rock (Crkvica svetog Roka) contains frescoes similar to those in Beram, although slightly less well preserved – to get in, ask for the key (kjjuc in the village square. There's a large Journey of the Magi on left as you enter, with an Annunciation above it, and a Martyrdom of St Sebastian and Flight into Egypt on the right, all rendered in vivid greens and ruddy browns redolent of the surrounding countryside.


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