Only fifteen years ago it seemed that this old little town standing over the hilly landscape of central Istria had been ignored by modern changes. Life was thriving here already in prehistory and it is said that the name Gallignana was given to the town by the ancient Gauls more than two thousand years ago. A more active life was brought in by the Slavs, whose spiritual heritage can still be discerned in the name of the hill – Perunčevac, named after Perun, the highest Slavic god, but also in the thousand-year old worshipping of Svantovid, the origin, some people believe, of the Christian St. Vitus, Patron of the Parish of Gračišće.
One of the most remarkable particularities of Gračišće is its urban structure. The town was once surrounded by walls and divided into districts of which every one has its own square with a church. The most representative is, of course, the town centre – the Plac, with the church dedicated to the Mother of God, the chapel of St. Anthony and the Salomon Palace. This part can be accessed through the West Gate with a Loggia erected in 1549. On the other side of the Gate the street splits left towards the Parish Church of Sts. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, and to the right towards the residential district around the square and the church of St. Pancras dating back into the 14th century. The street going along this church used to lead towards the south town gate.
Today, Gračišće is the centre of the Gračišće Municipality, which extends over 60 square kilometres and has a population of about 1500 people. The well preserved landscape has encouraged a few households to engage in agritourism. The traditional commitment to wine production, on the other hand, has given rise to an already popular annual Exhibition of the Wine of Central Istria. The beauty and singularity of cultural and historical monuments located in the preserved landscape are the greatest value of Gračišće. The town is visited by more and more visitors every day, not only for the Exhibition of the Wine of Central Istria, the St. Vitus Feast or the Festival of the Harmonica Zasopimo na organić. Many enthusiasts often come to this town to feed on the tranquillity inundating its streets lined with old architecture and converging at the tall bell tower and the parish church, both from the 18th century. Everyone will receive a gift here: from the lawn surrounding the church, visitors obtain probably one of the most beautiful views extending over the undulating landscape of Istria, merging into the peaks of the lofty Učka Mountain.