The legend has it that the background of the entire story was an unhappy love and a fight for the hand of a beauty from Funtana…
There is a saying that Mediterranean towns live more from their memories than other towns and that their history is more important than their present. Each of their stories is a living testament to their long history.
Given its modest size, Funtana does not have any large monuments, except for the Borisi palace, known as the Kaštel, and the perfectly whitened Church of St. Bernard, dating from the 17th century.
Still, its every corner, stone and jamb has interesting layers of inscriptions from the past. Take a stroll, be curious, explore, peep into the gates and ask the local people. Even though official histories only speak about Funtana for the first time in 1331, the town has existed since antiquity, when salt was produced here, fish were caught, and a particularly good sort of limestone and a specific kind of horn-like, granular stone called “mandulat” (from the Italian mandorlato which means a typical hard cookie with almonds) was extracted from the local quarries. The huge Roman villa in the surrounding Zelena laguna dates to this period. Its preserved remains can still be explored today. The level of luxury of this estate is due its connection to the water springs of Funtana at Perili by a special aqueduct.
During a feud in the Middle Ages, Funtana and Zelena laguna, like many other small Istrian towns, were decimated by infectious diseases. In the 16th century the town was settled by newcomers. They were led by a proud captain named Bernard Borisi, who came from Bari, Italy. Having fled from the Turks, they started building a new home right here. In 1610, Borisi decided to build his family palace – the kaštel – which dominates the town even today. There are many romantic legends about a curse in the town that lasted eight years.
As hereditary counts, the Borisi rule Funtana and its surrounding area for generations until 1869, but in 1651 they lost their authority because of the murder of a Croat (Slav) by Pietro Borisi. Although the Venetian overlords returned the Borisi to power eight years later – it having been established that Pietro committed the murder only after numerous offences and threats by the Slav inhabitants – legend has it that the background of the entire story was an unhappy love and a fight for the hand of a beauty from Funtana.
In any event, wherever you go on the Mediterranean, there certainly will be no lack of exciting tales.