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Istrian building heritage of the Venetian era

The central town square and the cistern in Vižinada


In the centre of Vižinada is a town square with a large cistern, one of the most important monuments of that type in Istria. Finished in 1782, it was made from local limestone according to the design of Simone Battistella, the architect from Rovinj. It is a flawless example of the Venetian Classicism.

The Vižinada cistern is rectangular, consisting of a stone parapet with columns on each of its four corners. Its interior was divided by columns into three naves. South and north entrances used to be closed up by a metal door. Two stone wells were covered by metal lids decorated by Baroque iron arabesques. The lion heads on the south facade of the cistern from both sides of a double staircase were used for eliminating water surplus.

The main square is dominated by the Church of St. Jerome, the one-nave Neo-Classicist structure erected between 1837 and 1840. Not far from the church is a self-standing belfry, built most probably in the 16th century. The square is encircled by the fontico, the town loggia, the Grimani and Facchinetti family houses, and the four-storey Maraston house, the tallest residential building of Vižinada.

The square lost its urban characteristics after the municipal palace of the Grimani family was knocked down. On the site of the palace, which stood to its south, a school, a kindergarten, a playground, and a gym have recently been built. The only remaining trace of the former palace are the 16th century arches. The building of the old fontico, a grain storehouse, has a large relief of a Venetian lion on its facade. The new era contributed to the development of Vižinada, which became a crafts and trading centre of this part of west Istria. The plate built into the lower part of the fontico facade proves its prosperity. The 1726 pricelist for transporting individual Venetian products was carved into it.

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The central town square and the cistern in Vižinada
The central town square and the cistern in Vižinada
The central town square and the cistern in Vižinada

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