Roc – Rozzo: “Castrum Rotium”
I do not know if this is the result of war damage or whether the original urban structure of Roc was such. It is more likely the former than the later.
Once you pass the big gates, on the right side you will see the small Church of St. Rock built in the 14th century. This church is decorated with fresco paintings dating back to the 14th and 15th century.
Two layers of frescos were found in the church. The older layer is made by an Italian painter in the 14th century and represents the life of St. Paul, while the most recent layer from the 15th century shows “Maiestas Domini” and the Apostoles made by an Istrian local painter clearly under Italian influence.
From the Church of St. Rock go towards the centre of the village and you will arrive in front of the Parish Church of St. Bartholomew from 1492. This church was built in the year when Columbus discovered America. Its 26 meters high Baroque bell tower is from 1676.
In front of the church there is a monument in the memory of the Glagolitic writer Jurij Zakan. Parallel to the Parish Church stands another smaller church from the 12th century dedicated to Anthony the Abbot. This church houses the famous Glagolitic graffiti, also known as the Roc Glagolitic Alphabet, dating back into the 12th century. The frescoes are from the 14th century. The last restoring of the church was made at the beginning of the 16th century when it was extended and covered with a Gothic vault. It is interesting that same sources indicate that on this place there was an older church dating back to the 6th century.
It is proved that in the village of Rim, that in Italian would be called Roma and in English Rome, not far away from Roc, two very old churches were found. The church of St. Mauro dating back to the 5th century and the baptistery of the Church of St. Mary from the 6th century.
Walking trough Roc you will note a number of houses with Renaissance contours and the strong rustic character mixed with newer buildings of the 19th century. A Mannerist palace with a portico and the Baroque town loggia, renovated in the 18th century, are located on the square behind the church.
Visiting the small gates, located on the eastern part of the town, will allow you to enjoy a beautiful view towards the eastern part of Istria.
In Roc’s photo gallery you will find various pictures of the buildings described above.
ROC – HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
Like many other Istrian settlements, towns and villages, also Roc was inhabited since prehistoric times and its name is assumed to derive from the Celtic word Roz.
Since the 2nd century BC Roc was an important Roman settlement named Castrum Rotium. After the Franconian rule and the German Emperors rule, in 1064 Emperor Enrico IV donated Roc, at the time named Rus, to Ulrich I of Weimar Orlamunde.
In 1102, his son Ulrich II sold Roc, at that time named Ronz, to Meginhard of Wieselberg. It is known that from 1209 the Aquileia Patriarchs ruled over Roc and built the old town walls in the 13th century.
At the end of the 14th century Roc formed its municipality, but in 1412 it was occupied by the Venetians led by the Captain of Raspor Jacopo da Riva that destroyed the old town walls.
In 1413 Roc was occupied by the Emperor Sigismondo, while in 1420 Venetians returned and remained here until the fall of Venice in 1797. Most of the old surviving architecture, the town walls and the towers, were built during the Venetian domination after 1421.
The only tower preserved from the Middle Ages is the one located on the northern side of the town. Roc’s castle that was located in the north-western part of the town has disappeared many years ago.