This little town perched on a hillside at an elevation of 240 metres, has a long and varied history similar to many other Istrian towns and villages, having been ruled by the Romans, the Habsburgs, the Venetians, Italian counts, and Napolean for a short time, before coming under Habsburg rule again during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and then becoming part of Italy, Yugoslavia, and today Croatia.
The Austrians had built a narrow-gauged railway line which ran from Poreč to Trieste, called the Paranzana railway. It opened in 1902 and had 35 stations with one here in Završje, putting the town on this important commercial route. Today the station no longer stands and apparently when the railway stopped running in 1935, it had been completely dismantled and shipped off to Africa, never to arrive because the ship had sunk on the way!
During the period under Austria and Italy, the town had a post office, school, two shops, an oil mill and other trade shops. Once the railway stopped running, Završje (its Italian name is Piemonte) was no longer an important thoroughfare and its decline began. Today there are only 40 inhabitants living here and most of the town’s houses are abandoned.
More recently, Završje has been the beneficiary of an EU restoration project. Information boards provide some interesting background information in Croatian, Italian and English on the town’s history and its architectural highlights. This is how I learned that the town used to be fortified by a double ring of walls, and that the south gate dates back to the 12th century. Also, the main church’s 15th century silver chalice is on exhibit in the Louvre Museum, Paris.
This little quiet and scenic gem of a town is definitely worth a stop on the spectacular drive from Oprtalj to Grožnjan.