„The palace of the poor“
As of the thirteenth century,
Venetians ruled the city of Rovinj. They recognized that the hilly inhabited
island of northern Istria, just across the sea from their home, could be of
huge strategic importance. Soon the tower of the St. Euphemia basilica became
the most important landmark for their sailors and the port became the safe
harbor for their fleet.
The Massatto family was
well-known for generations, as skillful fishermen. So, the hard work made them
earn a beautiful, though modest palace overlooking the port of Rovinj, as well
as the name of the street where their home was.
The devastating consequences
of the second World war made the Massatto family leave Rovinj and Istria. As
the new owners entered the property in the early 1950’s, they encountered only
the oldest palace inhabitant, the city barber. As he didn’t like the idea of
the change of ownership, he tried to persuade the new owners that the house was
worthless: “ TUTTO ROTTO”, he was shouting (“all is rotten”). The newcomers,
however recognized the importance of the building.
Soon the new owners started
refurbishing this palace of the poor, and made the old barber happy.
It is only ten years ago that
the owners of this unique villa decided to open its doors to the public, and
thus, began to share it’s history with guests anxious to stay behind the
medieval city walls, while witnessing the crypts where the inhabitants were
once hiding the food and salt from the pirates.
As you come to visit us, we
promise that you will be given a smile
by the eighteenth century Madonna and her child that will make you come again