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Rovigno / Rovinj: Venetian jewel of Istria

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Rovigno / Rovinj, 12,000 inhabitants, stands on a peninsula in the western part of Istria. The old part of the town is grouped on the tip of the promontory, dominated by the church of Sant’Eufemia, while the modern suburbs are located to the east. The town originally stood on an island, separated from the mainland by a canal, filled in in 1763, to expand the old town.

This small and picturesque city faces the sea directly with the houses that are reflected in it, forming a slight arch that rises on limestone banks. Rovigno is a typical example of a Venetian village. The town was originally fortified by walls with three access gates. Later the defensive structures were largely destroyed or integrated into the buildings. The village of Rovigno is dominated by the imposing Baroque church of St. Euphemia (1736).

Rovigno was first mentioned in a document from the 7th century under the name of Ruvignio. From the sixth century it belonged to the Exarchate of Ravenna. Then for several centuries it was owned by various feudal lords. So starting from 1209 it was under the Patriarch of Aquileia and from 1283 it belonged to Venice until the fall of the Venetian Republic, in 1797, when it passed to Austria. In 1918 it became part of the Kingdom of Italy, after World War II, in 1945 it was occupied by Yugoslavia, and finally, with the dissolution of Yugoslavia, it passed to Croatia.


The village of Rovigno is a small jewel, even if its buildings do not have a great artistic interest, its beauty is due to its shape. In fact, the historic center is all concentrated in the oval promontory dominated by the church of Sant’Eufemia.

The church of Sant’Eufemia is the most imposing building in the town, it dominates the entire historic center from above. Built at the beginning of the 18th century, it underwent interventions in the middle of the last century with the construction of the new facade in Venetian-baroque style. The bell tower of the church, about sixty meters high, ends at its top with the bronze statue of the Saint.

The whole old city is very characteristic, once surrounded by walls with seven gates, three of which have been preserved to this day. In the 17th century, the baroque arch of the Balbi was erected at the point where the external gate of the city once stood, today the entrance to the old city.

Among the interesting monuments in addition to the aforementioned cathedral, we find, near the port: the clock tower, the Baroque arch of the Balbi (1680) on the site of the ancient city gate and the old 17th century town hall (today a museum ). Then there are several Baroque and Renaissance palaces. The eastern part of the town includes the complex of the Franciscan monastery, built in the early eighteenth century (with an important library and annexed museum of sacred art), and with the church of St. Francis from 1810. On the south side of the town is the oldest monument in Rovinj – the 13th century heptagonal chapel of the Holy Trinity, located on the Piazza sul Laco.


The Lim channel (Croatian Limski kanal), the only “fjord” of the upper Adriatic, 9 km long and 600 m wide on average, is located 15 km from Rovigno. 23 km from Rovigno, the evocative ruins of the medieval city of Duecastelli, abandoned in the 17th century, are worth a visit.


This article is also available in: Italian

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