BERAM, 6km west of Pazin just off the road to Poreč and Motovun, is an unspoilt hilltop village with moss-covered stone walls and some of the finest sacred art in the region.

One kilometre northeast of the village is the Chapel of Our Lady on the Rocks (Crkvica svete Marije na škriljinah), a diminutive Gothic church with a set of frescoes dating from 1475, signed by local artist Vincent of Kastav. Of the many well-executed New Testament scenes that cover the chapel interior, two large frescoes stand out. The marvellous, 8m-long equestrian pageant of the Adoration of the Kings reveals a wealth of fine detail – distant ships, mountains, churches and wildlife – strongly reminiscent of early Flemish painting, while on the west wall a Dance of Death is illustrated with macabre clarity against a blood-red background: skeletons clasp scythes and blow trumpets, weaving in and out of a Chaucerian procession of citizens led by the pope. A rich merchant brings up the rear, greedily clinging to his possessions while indicating the money with which he hopes to buy his freedom.

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