Brtonigla – Verteneglio: “Istrian wine makers and olive growers“
The feast of St. Rock is celebrated on 16th of August and is one of the greatest folk festivals in this part of Istria. It is also known as “Rokova”. A part from being known for its excellent wine and olive oil in Brtonigla you can taste also a very good Istrian food in a very nice Istrian family owned hotel and restaurant San Rocco. The family of Tullio Fernetich is an example to all the other family entrepreneurs of how small and rural hotels should be run in Istria.
Brtonigla also has the Aleksandar Rukavina Memorial Gallery that became a cultural centre and venue of numerous exhibitions. It is worth to mention that in Brtonigla are also organized the summer art school Hortus Niger with the sponsorship of the Local democracy agency of the Council of Europe and the classical music festival.
Brtonigla is like many other Istrian towns and villages inhabited since prehistoric times. It was a prehistoric hill fort settlement and in the Roman period was a Roman settlement known as Hortus Niger. The colour of the soil in Brtonigla is almost black and probably this was the reason why Romans named it Hortus Niger.
In 1234 Brtonigla was mentioned for the first time in a written document as Ortoneglo. The other names that we find in later documents are: Villa Hortonilii, Ortoneggia and Vardaneggia, Berto-Negra and Orteneglio.
It is also known that this feud was part of Aquleia Patriarch in the 11th century and in the 13th century was the dominion of the Lords of Momjan.
From the 14th century, like most other towns and villages in the western part of Istria, was part of the Venetian Republic. Brtonigla was for the most period of its history linked with agriculture and today more and more with tourism. There are not many historical information and events remembered about this place.
It is known that suffered like the other Istrian towns and villages wars and plague in 1630 and 1631. This is probably the reason why St. Rock is also celebrated in Brtonigla.
With the fall of Venice, Brtonigla became a part of Austrian Empire and for a short period of time was under Napoleon domination. After the First World War and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy was part of Italy and after the Second World War became part of Yugoslavia (Croatia).
During the Italian Fascist period in Istria many Istrian families suffered from the regime or had to leave Istria. Fascism in Istria applied various repressive measures mostly towards Slav populations and this created the Antifascist Movement. The Second World War was a very painful experience for the Istrian population and many innocent Istrians, both Slav and Latin, died during that war.
After the second World War Brtonigla became part of Yugoslavia (Croatia). There were three agreements between Yugoslavia and Italy which established that Istria would become a part of Yugoslavia: Paris Agreement of 1947, London Memorandum of 1954 and the Osimo Agreement reached in 1975. In the first decade after the Second World War many Istrians, especially those living in towns and villages that for centuries were part of the Venice Republic, decided to leave Istria.
In 1991 with the fall of Yugoslavia and the founding of the Republic of Croatia, the internal republic boundaries were recognised as the state boundaries and Brtonigla is today part of Croatia.
In 2013 Brtonigla became part of the European Union. You can not change the past but you can try to learn from it. The main aim of the European Union founders was to build a system that could avoid future wars and future refugees in Europe as I explain in COSMOPOLITE.