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History of the Market

Half a century of existence and operation of the “Rovinj Market," in almost two hundred and fifty years of Valdibora Square history.  

In the decades that followed after the embankment of the channel, which used to separate the island community from land (1763), "Val dello squero di Valdibora” (The bay of Valdibora shipyard – with its coastline extending to the outskirts of what is presently Garibaldi square) area was transformed into a spacious square. It was positioned between the lines of houses in Driovier street and Dreiocasties (nowadays "Ulica Vl. Švalba"). One should emphasize related to Topography that the Square was finished in the middle of the 19th century, after elevating the coastline to its present height. A large building, "Rubineo," was constructed in the central area (1854). The building housed a spacious "Municipality Hall" (customized into the Theatre in 1865, today “Antonio Gandusio"), and the ground floor turned into a butcher’s shop and fish market.  At that time, the sale of firewood also was moved to a position called "Dreiocastiel Coast" (with a stone staircase positioned along the coast, recently reconstructed) at Valdibora square. This space is the closest to that street.  

At the end of the 19th century, the first shops and the first Inns -Taverns opened on the ground floor in some houses that surrounded the new Valdibora Square. The Square itself was mainly animated by the circus' tents and carusite, which used to stop in Rovinj and stalls set up for the feast of St. Eufemia. During September, countless wagons and oxen by vine-growers from Rovinj, Rovinjsko Selo, and other nearby areas were coming there to weigh grapes on a public weighing balance installed in 1882 located opposite from the Theater, towards the sea. Next to the scale stood "Vespasian," and, after WWI, a modest sanitary facility in a solid building was added.

Valdibora Square retained the characteristics and contents of an important public area even during the rule of Italy (Rovinj women used to spread laundry here, people who came from the surrounding area used to sell firewood and wicker). Also, note that the only city well of drinking water was positioned in the center of today's green Market (the new waterworks pipe was brought here from area Campolongo in 1908), which was of great utility for the household needs of the citizens.   

In the years following WWII, this part of Valdibora was revived mostly by Circuses with their wagons, tents, carousels, and entertainment, as can be observed from a beautiful painting made in aquarelle technique by Bruno Mascarelli in 1954. In the mid-1950s, the spacious Square Valdibora underwent new and significant changes. On September 6, 1956, right next to the Riva, the "Monument to the Fallen Freedom Fighters" was erected, and during the next spring, the surrounding area was converted into a City-park.   

The revival is recorded in all sectors of urban life since the 1960s, supported by intensified tourism development and imposed improvements in the trade network.

The green market position in the Square, which used to be called “Piazza delle erbe” (nowadays Trg Pignaton), was no longer in conformity with new requirements, particularly regarding motor vehicle traffic along this significant City’s traffic artery. For this reason, on June 22, 1960, the Green Market was relocated to Valdibora, where wooden tables were placed (covered with simple awnings) and distributed around a well. 

In March of the following year, work began on refurbishing the ground floor of the theater building, which had been used as a city fish market until then. This first “Supermarket” owned by the Trading company “Prehrana," held its Grand opening on July 15, 1961, and was named "Istra”; it houses a butcher shop (with five selling desks) and counters for fruits and vegetables. Initiated works also required moving the Fish-market to the former Rovinj printing shop premises ("Prima tipografia istriana” owned by the Coana family, later the Bartoli family). This building overlooked the Garibaldi Square (there was room for one more vegetable store in the section facing the newly opened Market). The grand opening of the new fish market was also held on July 15.

This spacious area of Valdibora went through additional significant changes in the year 1968: on June 10, the public weighing balance and the small building attached to it were demolished; expansion of the outdoor green Market was completed in the beginning of July. Tables made of concrete, covered with large and colorful awnings, replaced the old wooden tables. 

Finally, at the turn of the century and millennia, and as a result of capital works on the city infrastructure carried out at Valdibora (installing a new collector, the opening of ample parking spaces, renovation of the “Ulica palih boraca” street until the Theater “A. Gandusio” / completed in May of 2001, rearrangement of green spaces around the Monument / 2003-2006 according to the project by Prof. Dušan Ogrina, Ph.D. / and setting up a small children's playground / in the year 2004 according to the project designed by Galena Grohovac and Barbara Matošović Talajić), its spacious zone extending towards the old City also underwent significant renovations. During the first half of 2003, the green Market expanded and systematically renovated all its structures, following the project designed by architect Riccardo Paliaga (including paving and new table covering); The new Fish-market, with a thoroughly modernized interior, held its grand opening on June 23 of 2004.  In the meantime, new shops opened on the house's ground floor in “Švalba street," overlooking the Market. In the section extending towards the sea, new sanitary facilities were built, and in 2008 the table area was repaved for the second time, the so-called "Market – C." 

This summarized historical overview of the coast and the Square of Valdibora brings forward an interesting historical-urban story that has always been interwoven with everyday life full of diversity and human events, significantly associated with the saleswomen. Over the last fifty years, they contributed to transforming the Market into one of our City's most characteristic, dynamic, and lively corners. The Saleswomen did this by providing a quality assortment of fruits and vegetables, using their ordinary, colorful, and cheerful ways, and by excelling in skills to offer and sell to many customers and visitors.