The settlements of the Rovinj area originate from prehistoric times. It is believed that the present-day Rovinj region began to be formed between the 2nd and 3rd centuries b.c.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, as well as other Istrian cities, Rovinj beacame a part of the Theodoric East-Gothic States – the Byzantine Empire and Ravens Exarchate (539-751 and 774-778), the Langobard (751-774), the Franconian State (from 788) and later to early feudal families (predominantly German origin).
Rovinj was first mentioned in the written sources under the name “Ruigno” / “Ruginio” in the middle of the 7th century.
Since 1209 Rovinj has been under the rule of the Aquila Patriarch, and since 1283 in the Venetian Republic. After the fall of Venice in 1797, Rovinj became part of Austria. After the Rapalus Agreement of 1920 Rovinj became a part of Italy, since 1947 (Paris Peace) of Yugoslavia since and finally 1991 of the sovereign Republic of Croatia.
Rovinj is a typical example of the urban center of the Mediterranean radial-concentric type. It first developed as a settlement established by the walls on a small coastal islet; from the mid-17th century it spreads outside the city walls. In 1763 the island settlement was connected to the mainland.
The city of Rovinj is dominated by the baroque church of St. Euphemia, reconstructed from 1725 to 1736, with a beautiful bell tower (60 m high, reconstructed from 1654 to 1687). Among other buildings there are the town walls (with towers), the city gate (5 of them in total; especially Balbiˈs arch from 1678-1979), the city administration building (with the old town hall), Romanesque church of St. Trinity in Lokva Square and other medieval and Renaissance-Baroque churches, Franciscan monastery with the church of St. Francis of Assisi (1702-1710), street-skalinada Grisia, urban-architectural complexes of St. Thomas and St. Benedict, an old cemetery at the foot of St. Euphemia, clock tower (mid 19th century), theater “A. Gandusio “(1865) in Valdibora.
More medieval, Renaissance and Baroque palaces (the building of the medieval tribune, the” Venetian palace “at Veli Trg, the Califfi Palace, the seat of the Heritage Museum).
During the 17th, 18th and the first half of the 19th century, Rovinj was the largest and most developed city of Istria. With the appearance of a steamship and after the construction of the Pula arsenal, Rovinj starts to lose its meaning. Recently, the city of Rovinj has included new urban areas, residential, working and recreational zones, along with tourist villages north-west (Valdaliso, Monsena and Valalta) and southeastern part (Villas Rubin-Polari, Veštar).
The second independent settlement in the town of Rovinj is a suburban village Rovinjsko Selo (founded 1525-26), located northeast of the city center 7 km. Rovinjsko selo is firstly a rural and suburban urbanized settlement, with its center on 139 m above sea level, the parish church of St. Anthony of Opatija, built in 1593 – 1595. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Snow in the Rovinj Village (Rovinjsko selo) was built in the 14th century. Rovinjsko Selo has the function of the entrance door in this Rovinj area with appropriate amenities.
By transcribing old statutory norms, Rovinj received a new statute in 1531. During the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Rovinj gained the status of an independent city in 1869 with a special statute of the Primorje. During the World War II, the town district was first located in the district of Pula, then the larger area was created by the municipality of Rovinj (1961). In 1992 he gained the status of the City of Istria within the sovereign Republic of Croatia.
The beginnings of the modern development of the Rovinj function dates back to the second half of the 19th century. In 1947 a steamship was established with Trieste and Pula. Thirty years later (1873-76), the railway line Rovinj-Kanfanar was built, and better land connections were established with Pazin, Trieste and Vienna. Back in 1853. was built a large lighthouse on an island of St. Ivan na Pučini. In the city there was a theater which opened back in 1865.
The middle of the 19th century marks the beginnings of industrialization: in 1847 the mills and Blessich family pasta factories started their work; 1852 was built on the island of Sv. Andrew‘s first cement factory. Later, wax candles, glasses, liqueurs, distillery “Ampelea” and in particular tobacco processing factories (1872) and the first fish processing and canning factory were opened (1881). In 1856 a large mole was reconstructed and later, new shores in the south and north ports were erected.
The development of tourism began in 1888 with the opening of the “Maria Theresia Monastery” (in the north, in the area of St. Pelagia) and the setting up of the first bathing resort in Lone Bay (south of the city). At the beginning of the 20th century a few hotels were opened – the hotel “Adriatic” (1913), and the Hutterott and Millweski families arrange their possessions on the island of St. Andrew (Red Island, Crveni otok) or on the island of St. Catherine. Research work in Rovinj started in 1891 with the opening of a zoo and aquarium (the Berlin Zoological Institute initiative), which later became a scientific institution – the Center for Marine Research.
For centuries, Rovinj (quarry Montrew, Veštar, Gustigna, Valfaborso, Limski kanal, etc.) used the stones for the needs of the Venetian Republic and Venice, while the removal of bauxite began before the First World War.
The first half of the 19 th century was characterized by two world wars as well severe socio-political conditions between the two wars, and the exodus of a part of the population (mostly Italian) in the early 1950s. During Italy, ther was a modest expansion of the urban space and the road network, the gradual electrification and gasification of the city, and the growth of production in some branches of industry (bauxite extraction, fishing, fish processing, craftsmanship).
The accelerated development of the city of Rovinj begins after the reconstruction after the II. world war and is practically practiced to this day. In that period started the construction of a new sewage system, Istrian water supply system (1959), new and high quality telecomunications, electrical and road networks, and the construction of a number of important infrastructures in the social sphere (new school buildings, kindergartens, health centers, bus stations, the “Delfin”, new sports facilities), to the expansion or to the construction of new industrial plants (“Mirna”, “Istragrafika”, “Processing”, “A. Rismondo” building company, to a significant development of tourism and increasingly richer more dynamic cultural and sports activities.
In the sixties and seventies the conditions for the construction of the first modern hotels (“Park”, “Eden”) and tourist resorts in the Rovinj area (Škaraba, Villas Rubin-Polari, Monsena, Valalta) were created.
On this basis lies also today’s economic and social development of Rovinj and its immediate surroundings. Thus, Rovinj has retained the role of the administrative, administrative, political, social, economic, mediation and service center in the western part of Istria, and has been extensively expanded with tourist significance.