Motovun, ital. Montona, a municipality centre and a picturesque medieval town built on top of a cone-shaped hill with a flat plateau, is a town of urban lines originating from a prehistoric hill-fort. The information on its population dates back to the ancient times, more precisely, the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century, which is evidenced by the inscriptions beside the Venetian heraldic and leonidic symbols of the interior mantle on the ground-floor of the Renaissance fort.
According to the inscriptions found on the property of the Roman senator Sissena, it was exactly at Lom and Červar that the said family had the centre for the production of Istrian olive oil that they sold all over the Roman Empire, while in the surroundings of Motovun they extracted clay for the mass production of amphorae. During the late Antiquity in the place of the today's late Renaissance three-nave parish church of St. Stephen there was a spacious old Christian basilica. The flat plateau which dominates the late Medieval square with a well and the town's coat of arms looks like a spacious medieval tank.
The first mention of Motovun in written records dates back to 804 in the Placitum of Rižana, as Montouna.
During the rule of the Byzantine Empire the area of Motovun was paying almost the tenth of the total taxes and duties paid by the Istrian population at that time, while during the Roman Empire it was a part of the Poreč ager.
Motovun was a place of residence of many noble families, especially in the pre-Venetian period, for example, families Barbo or Polesini. Their properties were situated in the Motovun surroundings, for example, the Church of St. Nicholas near Rakotul adorned by artistically valuable wall paintings which include Glagolitic, Latin, dialectal and other graffiti.