Rovinježi – An Indigenous Mediterranean Character of People

“Get to know the locals!”
– is something we hear every day, when we travel someplace new and unknown. In our desire to bring closer to you the character and identity of real Rovinježi we went through some historical events that definitely put it out.
Somewhat defiant, proud, we dare to say, roaring, true Rovinježi have kept and guarded their city with the same force as their patron saint of Sveta Fuma. Yet we notice they come off as strong, humorous, and simply – different. We hope you ‘get it’ through these 2 anecdotes!
Rovinj Chimneys
Photo courtesy of Pixabay


Ever noticed Rovinj chimneys or rooftops while strolling through Old Town? Rovinj chimneys are considered an architectural phenomenon in Istria. So what’s their story? During centuries, Rovinj was a desirable destination to plant family roots, so at times Old Town inevitably experienced overpopulation. Newcomers had to claim their civil rights, and so they did – by building chimneys. Building a chimney was a legal basis for obtaining civil rights in Rovinj. Afterall, it was a pretty desirable place to live. So, newcomers were welcome, but Rovinj natives didn’t make it easy.  Obtaining a fireplace in a home was a symbol for family, life and social status. Furthermore, due to narrow streets and density of houses, chimneys were built outside the house. Next time you walk through Old Town, take a good look at wonderful Rovinj chimneys!


It is unfair not to mention the undeniable social importance of a tabacchina.

At the end of 19th century, Rovinj went through a sort of an industrial grow, and thus, opened a tobacco factory. Surprisingly, more than 700 women applied to work in the factory. At a certain period there was a total number of 780 women employed. So, being a high demand job, any woman who worked at the factory was called a ‘tabacchina’. Tabacchinas were women who manually rolled cigarettes, which during those time were exported throughout the region. Furthermore, they made sure that all processes and the production in the factory ran smoothly. But in the eyes of young Rovinj men, they were not mere working force.

For them, a tabacchina was a self-confident, hardworking woman (with regular income).

Tabacchinas were financially independent, and that made a great of a deal.Having that in mind, sailors fishermen and farmers saw opportunities for settling down, because tabacchinas were a good catch. They wanted to marry them for their financial status! Hence, tabbachinas quickly became the most desirable bachelorettes in town.



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