Fažana’s Economy at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries

The transformation of Fažana from a small, poor fishing town to an economic center and favorite tourist destination was considerably fast, as a result of the increased development of south Istria at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The first sign of a new wind blowing in Fažana was in 1884, when the Austrian entrepreneur Carl Warhanek opened the fish processing plant, nine years before the arrival of Paul Kupelwieser on the Brijuni Islands. The processing plant employed as many as 200 women and men, so fishing was not the only source of income. In 1880, Fažana had a population of 608, and over the next decade, this number increased to 717.
In 1864, Fažana had a post office and regular boat connections to Trieste, Rovinj and Pula; from 1900 it was connected to Pula twice a day by post office omnibus. In the course of time, there was an expansion of trade, catering and production activities. As early as 1875, the first office for oyster farming was opened in Valbandon, and some 20 years later an ice making plant was opened, although it was an example of a bad business decision. In 1897, Rodolfo Marincovich, one of the members of the large and enterprising family that had arrived from Vis some 30 years earlier, opened the liqueur factory and distillery “Premiata distileria e fabbrica liquori” in Fažana. The next big economic boom is related to the purchase of the Valbandon ice making plant in 1899 by Berlin entrepreneurs Klink & Lauer, who soon after that started a new mariculture program of shellfish farming in the bay, and in the first decade of the 20th century it was turned into a hotel, tourist, bathing and health facility.
Tourism was regarded as a significant branch in Fažana – in 1902 Giacomo Sfecich opened a hotel, in 1905 Fausto Marincovich opened the “Hotel Cafe Zum neuen Molo” whereas Arturo Marincovich took over the “Ristorante al belveder” from Inocente Massimo Marincovich. Giacomo Marincovich, also referred to as a Fažana hotelier, opened the vinegar and sweets factory in 1905. At the old waterfront was the “Trattoria della Sanitá” owned by Vittorio Privileggi, who would in the coming years run the restaurant “Ai Bagni” in Sfecich’s facility, but also a mineral water bottling plant, where Fažana’s first “pašareta” drink originated from. At the Old School Square his brother Dante ran a big grocery store, and another store near the Parish Church was owned by Carlotta Tamburin. Newspapers of that time pointed out that the distinguished people of Pula were attracted to Fažana’s waterfront because of the frequent entertainment and food, Sfecich was famous for Italian and German specialties, Dreher beer and homemade wine, Marincovich was popular for Pilsen beer…
After World War I, when Istria became part of the Kingdom of Italy, Warhanek’s processing plant was taken over by the company Arigoni from Trieste. The Tamburin family was now spelt Tamburini, and the most numerous family in Fažana, Marincovich, who were fishermen, ship owners, caterers, manufacturers, photographers, workers, now became Marini. The Marini family expanded their activities to a car garage, just like the Fabretto family who took pride in their bar, restaurant, tobacco and salt sales… At that time, many other families were engaged in trade, catering, crafts and other activities: Borsatti, Carlin, Pinosa, Moscarda, Ferro, Andrioli, Draghesich, Petrich, Carlovich, Tarticchio, Meden, Cutti, Giacomini, Puia, Trobis, Bogo, Cernaz, Cancellier, Giobbe, Scabozzi, Sorbola, Borsi, Cortese, Hreglia, Stossi…
In 1947, when Istria became part of Yugoslavia, most of them left Fažana as part of the exodus. Warhanek’s old plant was taken over by the fish processing plant “Mirna” Banjole, and by August that same year, Rodolfo Marini’s (ex Marincovich) liqueur factory was nationalized. There were no more members of the Marincovich family in Fažana, their entrepreneurial spirit now moved to Italy and South America, although the liqueur factory and distillery “Fažana” closely guarded its original recipes for a long time after, proudly indicating on the product labels: “ex Marincovich”!