Town of Vodnjan
Grad Vodnjan
Città di Dignano[1]
Vodnjan People
Vodnjan People's Square
Flag of Vodnjan
Vodnjan is located in Croatia
Location of Vodnjan within Croatia
Coordinates: 44°58′N 13°51′E / 44.967°N 13.850°E / 44.967; 13.850Coordinates: 44°58′N 13°51′E / 44.967°N 13.850°E / 44.967; 13.850
Country Croatia
Zastava Istarske županije.svg
 • MayorEdi Pastrovicchio
 • Town100 km2 (40 sq mi)
135 m (443 ft)
 • Town6,119
 • Density61/km2 (160/sq mi)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)052
Vehicle registrationPU

Vodnjan (Croatian pronunciation: [ʋɔ̌dɲan]; Italian: Dignano) is a town in Istria County, Croatia, located about 10 kilometers north of the largest city in Istria, Pula.


Historical population
of Vodnjan–Dignano
1880 6,828—    
1890 7,035+3.0%
1900 7,881+12.0%
1910 9,066+15.0%
1921 8,379−7.6%
1931 8,330−0.6%
1948 5,609−32.7%
1953 4,334−22.7%
1961 6,297+45.3%
1971 6,259−0.6%
1981 5,261−15.9%
1991 5,538+5.3%
2001 5,651+2.0%
2011 6,119+8.3%
Source: Naselja i stanovništvo Republike Hrvatske 1857–2001, DZS, Zagreb, 2005

According to the 2011 census, there are 3,613 inhabitants in Vodnjan-Dignano, with a total municipality population of 6,119.[2] The municipality of Vodnjan-Dignano has one of the most diverse ethnic compositions, with 3,160 Croats (51.64%), 1,017 Italians (16.62%), 425 Bosniaks (6.95%), 299 Roma (4.89%), 242 Serbs (3.95%) and 96 Montenegrins (1.57%) of the total population.[3] Montenegrins form a majority in Peroj village. 69.2% are Catholics, 14.0% are Muslims and 6.0% are Orthodox Christians.[4] Many old native residents speak an Istriot language they call Bumbaro. These inhabitants are also called Bumbari.


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According to the legend, it developed out of the association of seven villas which were part of the colonial goods of Pula-Pola. Dignano was known as early as Roman times as Vicus Attinianum and listed in historical records in 932 at the time of Pietro Candiniano, to whom the Istrian towns were giving amphorae of good wine in exchange of protection. Inside the historic nucleus, the town preserved its characteristic medieval look with atria and narrow irregularly winding streets among houses, with cobblestoned roads and façades, old streets still impressively recognizable by their Gothic, Venetian Renaissance and Baroque style and many churches rich with memories and art. Among these, St. Jacob Church or delle Trisiere in the old town was designated as a parochial church as early as 1212. It witnessed some important historical events such as the peace agreement with Pula-Pola in 1331 and the writing of the Statute of 1492.

The large People's Square in the centre of the town marks the place where a castle with towers was built, probably in the 4th or the 5th century, and torn down in 1808. The square is surrounded by important buildings such as the City Hall in the neo-Gothic style, the Benussi house, the Bembo house and the Bradamante palace with its decorated façade and an elegant triphora.

The square in front of St. Biagio church, which is the biggest church in Istria and built on remnants of an early Romanesque church that was torn down in 1781 is another important and frequently visited square. The church was consecrated in 1800 and it maintains numerous artistically and culturally valuable works, such as a custody in bas relief from 1451, wooden figures and paintings made from the 14th to the 18th centuries, works by great masters like Paolo Veneziano, Jacopo Contarini, Jacobello del Fiore, Lazzaro Bastiani, Gaetano Grezler, Avenerio Trevisano, Antonio della Zonca and others.

The sacred art collection is specialized in numerous relics and the bodies of saints, reliquaries from Murano, habits of the saints and valuable old books. There are many frescos in other churches: St. Margaret Church (the 12th century), Our Lady Traversa Church (the 13th century), St. Kirin Church (the 6th century) or St. Fosca Church (the 8th-9th century), that are destinations for today's pilgrims.



  1. ^ The Statute of Vodnjan. See art. 3
  2. ^ "Population by Age and Sex, by Settlements, 2011 Census: Vodnjan". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
  3. ^ "Population by Ethnicity, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Istria". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.
  4. ^ "Population by Religion, by Towns/Municipalities, 2011 Census: County of Istria". Census of Population, Households and Dwellings 2011. Zagreb: Croatian Bureau of Statistics. December 2012.