Our trip to Montenegro, hidden treasure of the Adriatic. Between fabulous coasts, clear water and medieval villages.
In Montenegro, the sea shines. And the wind howls of rebirth. Economic and cultural. Between rugged coastline that sweeps down to the crystal waters of the eastern fjords and bays that recall the most famous Norwegian cousins. That is the Bay of Kotor (Boka Kotorska), which penetrates for about 30 km in the inland. The Montenegrin coast, for its timeless appeal, where architecture meets nature without distorting it, has inspired poets and writers such as Lord Byron, Bernard Shaw, Marguerite Yourcenar. All fascinated by the atmosphere of medieval old villages because there, step by step, you walk in history. Its history is also marked by the ancient Romans that landed at the pier built in the town of Kotor and Risan, the oldest settlement on the coast, magnificent villas enriched with beautiful mosaics and exotic gardens. And there is no lack of the Baroque touch, thanks to the old Venetian fortress and the tower of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary from the seventeenth century. Then it left a space, in the village of Perast, for the oldest church of Sveti Nicola (Saint Nicholas) to be erected.
Montenegro, a land of sailors and fishermen. Islets became residential areas and popular tourist destinations, today more and more requested for their originality. Just ike St. Stephen (Sveti Stefan), built in ancient fortress on a rocky islet for the protectcion from pirates which then became attraction for queens, divas and supermodels. Some names? Elizabeth II, Sophia Loren and Claudia Schiffer. Mixture of cultures and traditions, styles and architectures that time has kept since the merging with Serbia during the Balkan conflicts saved the Montenegrin beauty from the ugliness of the war. Since 2006, becoming independent Republic after the secession, the country adopted the euro unilaterally but are not yet part of the European Union. Curiosity? The Italian language is the second foreign language that is studied in schools from an early age.
We start from the capital Podgorica (now the nerve center of the country and home to the main airport connected with direct flights to Rome), through Budva (the party center), the characteristic medieval city of Kotor (Kotor) and the brand new Porto Montenegro (small Saint Tropez).
Podgorica, capital and European metropolis
The old name was Titograd, until 1992. Today it is called again Podgrorica (in Italian Podgorizza). Literally, the name means the foot of Gorica, mountainous relief, and is the driving force of the economy and administration in Montenegro. Born on the banks of six rivers, Podgrorica is a modern European metropolis, seat of the institutions and museums that tell the history of Montenegro. Already a crossroads, thanks to its strategic location, international trade during the Ottoman Empire. In the old town you can admire the ancient tower-lighthouse made of stone (Sat-kula), the church of St. George, the remains of the fortress in 1400 and the old bridge over the river Ribnica.
Budva, entertainment and crystal clear water
Montenegro also has its Mykonos. And Budva is the center of entertainment, clear beaches with cristal water.
A Legend has it that the city was founded by Cadmus, the son of the Phoenician king Agenor, who, banished from Teba, landed with a cart pulled by oxen on the Adriatic coast. In the historic center a Roman necropolis was discovered and in the summer, Budva becomes the capital of the theater. “Budva City-Theatre” is in fact one of the most important artistic and cultural events throughout the region. For lovers of the early hours and after, “Top Hill” is the disco-club in the hills which is to be included among the places to see. The artists like Madonna and Lenny Kravitz have not missed the opportunity to perform on the beaches of Budva, where unspoiled nature fans find the organized and efficient campsite parking.
Kotor, the medieval village
A small medieval village surrounded by fortified walls overlooking a beautiful bay. Scent of salt air, ships, boats and yachts parked in the port. A traditional market with local products welcomes visitors before entering the ancient citadel. Kotor (Kotor) is accessed through three main doors and the front door is the central clock tower in Romanesque style. The treasure of this ancient beauty of Montenegro, now a World Heritage Site, however, is the cathedral of Sveti Tripun (St. Tryphon), built in 1166 and inspired by Byzantine architecture. In front of the cathedral every year the agency Fabrika, in collaboration with the national government, organizes the Kotor International Fashion Festival now in its 18th edition. Many designers showed their collections on the catwalk en plain air: Emanuel Ungaro, Diane von Furstenberg, Jean Paul Gaultier are some of the biggest names of the fashion world who attended the event.
Porto Montenegro, the small “Saint Tropez”
At about twenty minutes from Kotor, surrounded by the waters of the Bay of Kotor, Porto Montenegro was born, a luxury village and brand new building specifically created for tourists who love luxury and can afford to travel by boat. The marina is surrounded by seafront and exclusive residence where between a walk and a cocktail you can choose to play sports on the beach and have lunch at one of the international restaurants found in it. Or you can visit shopping street and shop in one of several flagship stores where renowned fashion houses have already opened their own boutiques.
Gourmets will find in Montenegro delicacies to satisfy even the most sophisticated palates. The Montenegrin cuisine is rich and diverse. Typical dishes on the menu in many cases date back to the Roman Empire. Besides the traditional flavors like roast octopus, mussels, clams and shrimp stew, Grilled white fish, marinated swordfish, cod soup and black risotto, the most demanding gourmets can also enjoy refined exotic dishes and international cocktails as salmon with octopus and avocado risotto with mussels and homemade prosecco, prawns flambéed with cognac, tuna prosecco sauce and carob. There are also fish soup and several varieties of blue and white fish prepared in many ways and served with beets and potatoes prepared as per tradition. In the Inland,on the Skadar Lake, food lovers can taste dried and smoked carp over a glass of local wine (such as red “Vranac” or white “Krstac”). Do not miss the aperitif with hot pies and buttery cheese or yogurt in oil served with local beer Niksic or, for those with stronger stomachs, with grappa. Between an olive or two.