It is famous for the St Euphemia Cathedral, the highest church tower in Istria at 61 metres high. Rovinj was originally an island, but 250 years ago the narrow channel which separated it from the mainland was filled in.
It is one of our favourite destinations on the Croatian Adriatic, as it’s so delightfully pretty, and also lively with its numerous cafes and restaurants, galleries and an active fishing port – in the mornings you can watch the fishermen come in as you have your breakfast.
As with much of Istria, findings in the area show that Rovinj’s history stretches back to prehistoric times and that town was an Illyrian settlement populated by the Histri. Although Istria became part of the Roman Empire in 177 BC, Rovinj (Ruginium in Latin) was never a settlement of much importance or significance.
Rovinj became one of the first towns in Istria to fall to Venice, which it did in 1283. Attacked several times over the next few centuries, the town fortified its walls. Rovinj also saw an influx in numbers in the 17th century as people chose to escape the plagues affecting neighbouring towns such as Porec and Pula and the town therefore grew.
At this point, the main part of Rovinj was still an island that was separate from the mainland, although the town had expanded onto it. For this reason, in 1763, the channel between Rovinj and the mainland was filled in.
As with the rest of Istria, Rovinj became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early part of the 19th century, during which time it went into decline; after this empire dissolved post World War I, the town became part of Italy. In 1947, after World War II, Rovinj was ceded to Yugoslavia and it then was part of Croatia when it became an independent country.