Umag, Sepomaia Viva

Sepomaia Viva International Antiquity Festival
Međunarodni festival antike Sepomaia viva
Dates 2018 to be announced
Umag (Istria)

a time-travel back in time to the era of the ancient Romans... the entire old part of the charming town of Umag turns itself into an ancient Roman town... costumes, cooking, dancing, battling... the ancient Romans come alive again...

Geographical, cultural and historical context

Umag, a small town and port located on the north-western coast of Istria region, in Croatia, is a beloved holiday destination thanks to its charming landscape, and the many facilities and excursions available. The town is also worldwide famous for hosting every year the "Croatia Open", an ATP tennis tournament featuring many top world tennis players. The beauty and healthiness of the territory, which includes also Savudrija/Salvore, the westernmost point of Croatia, were already known by the ancient Romans, who chose it as their summer residence building there their typical retreats, the so-called "villa rustica". The hinterland of Umag is well worth as well with beautiful hills with many historical fortifications and a variety of local specialties.

Umag was first mentioned in the 7th century AD, but existed long before as witnessed by the many archaeological findings and remains uncovered all along the coast. The history of Umag is in fact deeply linked to the ancient settlement of Sipar, which stretched between the Cape of Katoro and the Cape of Sipar, and whose ruins can be found about 7 km north of Umag. The settlement had Celtic roots and was known as Sepomaia before being renamed Siparis by the Romans. The area did not only host wealthy villas, but also rural houses with farmsteads. The ancient city enjoyed a period of relative prosperity with a flourishing economy based on agriculture, crafts, fishing and trade until the Fall of the Roman Empire. A time of decline began due to the frequent raids by the Barbarians and the sea pirates, as well as the outbreaks of plague, cholera, and malaria, definitely making the inhabitants of Siparis to move to a nearby island: the today’s Umag. Umag was then ruled by Ostrogoths, Byzantines, Longobards and Francs, before joining the Republic of Venice to experience a new period of magnificence and splendour, which is still reflected in many architectures.


Event description and programme

Every year in Summer Umag hosts "Sepomaia Viva", an international festival making the Ancient Rome come alive again. The event portrays the period between the 1st and the 4th centuries AD, when the life flourished in Istria under the rule of the Romans. For a weekend the downtown, around St Martin’s city square, next to the city museum, turns into an ancient Roman town reliving the spirit of the Antiquity, which left a permanent civilisation mark there. The festival was established in 2002 as a part of the project of the Museum of Umag dedicated to archaeological research on the ancient site of Katoro-Sepomaja.

The festival, based on accurate scientific investigations, is aimed to educate the visitors in a very interactive and exciting way. At Sepomaia Viva the visitors have the unique opportunity to feel the spirit of the Antiquity, wearing historical dresses, tasting historical dishes in a Roman tavern, attending dance and music performances, joining several workshops and live-in activities. They can also discover the legionaries' art of war, enjoy gladiators’ fights, and learn about the ancient crafts techniques directly from the artisans dealing with mosaics, ceramics and stone-masonry. The rich programme includes also special programmes for children, themed exhibitions, lectures and guided tours.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Umag Town Museum / Muzej grada Umaga
Address: Trg sv. Martina 1, 52470 Umag, Istarska, Croatia
Tel: +385 (0)52 720386 | Fax: +385 (0)52 720385

Umag Town Council / Ured gradonačelnika Grada Umaga
Address: Giuseppe Garibaldi 6, 52470 Umag, Istarska, Croatia
Tel.: +385 (0)52 702953 – 702900 | Fax: +385 (0)52 741967

Istria Tourist Board / Turistička zajednica Istarske županije
Address: Pionirska 1, HR-52440 Poreč-Parenzo, Istarska, Croatia
Tel.: +385 (0)52 452797 | Fax: +385 (0)52 452796

Colours of Istria web portal
The Tourist Boards of the cities of Umag, Novigrad, Brtonigla and Buje and the tourist companies Istraturist Umag and Laguna Novigrad

Image: Umag Town Museum via Colours of Istria
Texts sources: Umag Town Council, Umag Town Museum, Wikipedia, Istra Tourist Board, Colours of Istria


Umag on Google Maps:



Promos and video reportages of the event:




Visiting Umag and its museum: 




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