Rovinj (Italian: Rovigno; Istriot: Ruvèigno) is a city in Croatia situated on the north Adriatic Sea with a population of 13,562 (2007). It is located on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and is a popular tourist resort and an active fishing port. Istriot, a Romance language once widely spoken in this part of Istria, is still spoken by part of the residents (also called Rovignese by those who speak it here). There is a centre of History Research which is an institution of the Council of Europe.
From the middle of May to the middle of September the sun shines more than 10 hours a day. The rainfall averages 941 mm a year. The average humidity is 72%. Vegetation is subtropical.
Originally the peninsula on which the city lies was an island, separated from the mainland by a channel. The latter was filled in 1763. Rovinj Archipelago includes 22 islets.
It became part of the Byzantine empire, then in the sixth century part of the Exarchate of Ravenna and in 788 part of the Frankish empire. Then it came under the rule of different feudal lords during several centuries. From 1209 it was ruled by the Aquilean patriarch.
It was from 1283 to 1797 one of the most important towns of Istria under the Republic of Venice. The city was fortified by two rows of walls with three town gates. The remaining town walls date from this period. Close to the pier one can find the old town gate Balbi's Arch, dating from 1680, and a late-Renaissance clock tower. The city got its statutes in 1531.
After the fall of Venice and the Napoleonic parenthesis, Rovinj was part of the Austrian Empire until World War I. Then it belonged to Italy from 1918 to 1947, when it was ceded to Yugoslavia: in that period much of the Italian inhabitants fled.
The busiest area is the very centre of Rovinj, extending from the main bus station toward the old part of town. It is where most bars are located and where locals hang out. Popular bars among young locals are La Tabacheira, Buzz and Sax, the latter sharing an extensive open air terrace with a number of surrounding bars overlooking the pier that in the Summer evenings becomes one of the busiest places in town.
Every August, Rovinj hosts Grisia, a popular open air art fair wherein local and international artists exhibit their work on the cobbled streets of Grisia.
Tourism began for Rovinj in the late 19th Century, when liners began to stop at the port en route from Trieste to Rijeka. Georg Huterrodt developed the nearby islands in the early 20th Century, and created parkland to the south of the town as well as instituting the Istrian coast as a yachting destination.
According to the data of the Tourist Association of the Istrian County, Rovinj is now the second leading destination in terms of the number of realized overnights. It is also unofficially considered one of the most beautiful towns on the Adriatic coast. The most numerous visitors to the city of Rovinj are Italians, Germans, Austrians, Dutch and British. The two closest airports are Trieste and Pula. Since the recent introduction of low cost flights from the UK to Trieste, Treviso, Venice and Pula the number of UK visitors has increased dramatically. In the Summer season, there is a direct high speed ferry link between Venice and Rovinj, facilitating the transfer of visitors flying into Marco Polo airport to the town of Rovinj.
There are numerous hotels in the town itself, and beds are abundant though usually overbooked in the Summer months. Accommodation ranges from private rooms or apartments to bungalows, camping sites and 2 to 4 star hotels. As of Autumn 2008, what used to be the old Hotel Montauro and bungalows Monte Mulin are being converted into 5 start hotel resort.