3 - ECONOMY

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The castle had an important economic role. In addition to its defensive and administrative purposes, the castle was also the economic center of the feud. The estate inhabitants were obliged to give grain and wine to the owner as part of the tax liabilities, and a merchant house was also located on the castle premises. During the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, the merchant houses in Istria and Veneto served as communal grain warehouses through which the local administration controlled the import and price of grain. Such institutions ensured the constant basic food availability even in cases of food shortages. As such crises were frequent in Istria, the owners of the Svetvinčenat feud were known to ban the sale of grain until the total quantity and the annual needs of the community were determined. Consequently, the self-sufficiency of the feud was ensured, but malfeasance was also prevented. Oftentimes, the inhabitants first sold grain at lower prices to get other necessities, only to later buy them back at significantly higher prices in periods of scarcity. At the merchant house the inhabitants of the feud could sell the surplus grain and procure different types of seeds and flour.

Winegrowing was the main agricultural activity of the population, so it is not surprising that there were two taverns in the castle where significant quantities of this precious liquid were stored. The estate governors sold wine in the nearby Istrian towns, thus increasing the income of the feudal lord, while a part of the wine stocks was consumed by the feudal lord himself.

The diet of the locals, mainly based on the products of local agriculture and livestock, differed from that of the feud owners and governors. Game, for example, was reserved for the feudal owners. The captain was in charge of hunting, but also of supervising the hunters in order to prevent illegal trade. Birds were hunted, mainly partridges, and game, such as rabbits, foxes, and deer. In addition to game, the fish, procured in coastal Istrian towns, cheese, honey, gelatin, and eggs also reached the tables of feudal owners in Venice. According to the regulations, strict bird protection was in place and those who, for example, dared to kill a peacock owned by the castle, would have their right arm cut off as a form of punishment.

In the display case you can see some of the ceramic and brass utensils used in the castle in the 15th and 16th centuries. During the archaeological excavations of the Morosini-Grimani castle numerous fragments of various ceramics were found. During the Renaissance period, most kitchen utensils were locally produced, while more luxurious examples of tableware were mainly imported from specialized workshops of the Veneto region, but also from the other Adriatic regions of northern and central Italy.

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