The House Maraston was built in the period between the 16th and 17th century on the north side of the main square. Close to where the cistern was built at the end of the 18th century. To this day it is the tallest residential building in the municipality with its four floors and a height of almost 14 metres. The house was built under Venetian rule and afterwards during the Austro-Hungarian rule the ground floor and the first floor were used by their administrative offices. On the ground floor, there was a post office and on the first floor a bar, but between the two World Wars it was – a working men’ club. The Maraston family, who was managing the club, had big problems in the 1920s with the fascists who on several occasion tried to eliminate some members of the family and even tried to burn down the house. Besides Josip Tuntar (Giovanni Tuntar, 1882 – 1940), mister(ime) Maraston was one of the socialists from Vižinada who were forced to leave their hometown during Fascists rule. During the Austrian rule, Vižinada was ruled by Socialists, among them the renowned municipal mayor of Vižinada, Agostino Ritossa, whose library (gabinetto socialista), medical expertise and above all humanity, was well-known in Vižinada, Poreč, Istria and beyond. Vižinada has been the only Istrian municipality with a Socialist administration since the 19th century.
The House Maraston was built north of the current cistern. The two entrance doors and the corresponding show windows on the ground floor are preserved. On the first floor, there is a stone balcony along the entire length of the façade. It has massive stone consoles and parapets also made from domestic stone. The metal balustrade was made by blacksmiths from Vižinada before the Second World War. The representative appearance and the size of the stone balcony is part of the typology of similar Istrian buildings, although it is most probably made from elements that belonged to earlier buildings, or according to the architectural stone plastics made from before the balcony was built. With the restoration and restructuring programme, the House Maraston became a Visitor Centre, where visitors can see presentations of the cultural heritage of the area.
It presents a unique combination of folk tales, historical facts and contemporary tourist offers that will inform, educate and enable visitors to spend quality free time in an original and interesting way using modern technology and creative ways of interpretation. The topics covered are incorporated into the space concept on the four levels of the building:
Istrian history hides some untold stories. Did you know that Clint Eastwood and Donald Sutherland filmed the legendary film Kelly´s Heroes in the Vižinada area in the 1970s … Would you like to visit the authentic locations and become a part of the movie? Did you know that Carlotta Grisi was born here? She is one of the world’s most famous ballerinas for whom the world-famous show Gisele was created… Maybe you would like to learn her dance steps and direct the show yourself? And finally, the sweetest event in Istria takes place in Vižinada – Sweet Istra, which preserves the tradition of making authentic cakes of this place, all nine species of them. Recipes are usually jealously guarded, but maybe we will reveal them to you…
You can explore all this and much more at the Visitor Center Maraston – The House of Hidden History, and through interactivity and play, using modern technology and creative ways of interpretation, search every corner of the house and discover the secrets of Istria through yet untold stories.
The purpose of the Maraston Visitor Center is to attract visitors to the historic core of the settlement in a recognizable and attractive way and to encourage the year-round promotion of cultural, historical and tourist attractions in the area of the Municipality of Vižinada-Visinada.
Monday to Friday: 09:00 – 15:00
on Saturdays: 09:00 – 13:00
on Sundays and holidays: closed
October-May: on request and with prior notice
For group visits, reservations are required at [email protected] or +385 (0)52 446 110.
Individual visitors: HRK 50.00
Groups: HRK 40.00
Children up to 7 years FREE.