Municipality of Funtana

Funtana is a fishing, agricultural and tourist place on the west coast of Istra, located between the tourist towns of Vrsar and Poreč, whose coast spreads from Zelena Laguna on the north to Valkanela in the south. This is the most indented coastline of the Istrian peninsula with many coves and islets. The inhabitants of Funtana turned to tourism more intensely in the 1960ies, and a series of camps and hotels have been built in this area, as well as significant private restauranteur and accommodation capacities.

According to 2011 Census, the Municipality of Funtana has 924 inhabitants, on an area slightly smaller than 8 square kilometres.

Municipality of Funtana was established in 2006 after its separation from the Municipality of Vrsar. The existence of a unified territory in the area of today’s Funtana can be traced back to the Roman era. Out of many antique findings, the most impressive effect on the surroundings are the remains of the centuriation – the division of the territory into plots with a regular shape. Funtana and its surroundings were the started points of some of the most important Roman regional roads in Istria that led inland. Funtana was explicitly mentioned for the first time in 1331. Medieval Funtana had an abundance of settlements and trades. New era, especially the end of the 16th century, brought a series of difficulties to Funtana: wars, famine, depopulation and new inhabitants. In the late 18th century, Funtana maintains its independence, unlike Vrsar which was annexed to Venice. In the 17th and 18th century, many people from today’s Albania and Montenegro moved to Funtana, fleeing from the Turks. Newcomers, mostly Catholics, assimilated well and learned the language quickly. Since ancient times, both Slavic and Romanic languages were used in Funtana, and in the 19th century Italian and Croatian. The period between the two World Wars, under fascist repression, was extremely difficult for Funtana. Croatian school was closed, and part of the population was forced to leave. Part of the population also emigrated after the victory of antifascist movement, but the process itself was not as noticeable as in Vrsar, for example. New inhabitants arrived from other parts of Croatia and Yugoslavia, especially from Dalmatinska Zagora.

Funtana has a series of tangible and intangible cultural heritage sites. Large parts of those are of sacral character. Altarpiece with the Virgin Mary, Jesus and saints has large dimensions and an interesting early Baroque composition of Venetian workshops but with an expression influenced by Istrian painter Carpaccio. Besides the altarpiece, there are also silver (kanonske table), a golden cross and the statue of St. Anthony.

The importance of fisheries was enormous, especially in the 19th century economy when most of the population starved occasionally, so there was hardly any family that did not exploit fishing for their own needs. Fisheries and coastal development of Funtana in the early 20th century was one of the most intense in Istria. Agriculture and fisheries made over 70% of the GDP in the late 1950ies, but in the 1980ies these numbers went in favour of tourism and restauranteurs. Numerous climate and natural advantages and the vicinity of the continental Europe affected the strong growth of tourism.