Province of Carnaro

Provincia del Carnaro
Provincia di Fiume
Province of the Kingdom of Italy




Location of the Province of Carnaro in the Kingdom of Italy.
Capital Fiume
45°20′N 14°26′E / 45.333°N 14.433°E / 45.333; 14.433Coordinates: 45°20′N 14°26′E / 45.333°N 14.433°E / 45.333; 14.433
  1924 (first) Gaetano Giardino
  1943–1945 (last) Alessandro Spalatin
Historical era Interbellum · World War II
  Established 22 February 1924
  Invasion of Yugoslavia 6–17 April 1941
  OZAK formed 10 September 1943
  Paris Peace Treaty 10 February 1947
  1938 1,121.29 km2 (433 sq mi)
  1938 109,018 
Density 97.2 /km2  (251.8 /sq mi)
Today part of  Croatia

The Province of Carnaro (or Province of Fiume) was a province of the Kingdom of Italy from 1924 to 1943, then under control of the Italian Social Republic and German Wehrmacht from 1943 to 1945. It took its official name after the Gulf of Carnaro (Golfo del Carnaro).

The province was divided into 13 municipalities and in 1938 had an area of 1,121.29 km ² with a population of 109,018 inhabitants and a density of 109 inhabitants / km ².[1]


The Free State of Fiume, established in 1920 by the Treaty of Rapallo.

Fiume had been occupied since September 1919 by a private force led by the nationalist poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, disilluded with Italy's management of the Fiume question after the end of the First World War. D'Annunzio's initiative was a personal one, however, and the Italian army evacuated the poet's soldiers. With the Treaty of Rapallo Fiume and its immediate surroundings, counting around 50,000 Italian-speakers and 13,000 Croatian-speakers, were declared a free city.

Nationalist and fascists kept on pushing for a direct annexation of Fiume; after a staged coup in 1922, the city was militarly occupied by the Regio Esercito. The province was finally created in 1924,[2] with the Treaty of Rome, when the territory of the former State was split up between Yugoslavia and Italy, with the latter receiving Fiume.

The new province was formed by the coastal zone of the Free State, which became the district (circondario) of Fiume; and by the district of Volosca-Abbazia, formerly within the Province of Pola. In 1928, districts were abolished and two other municipalities passed under the jurisdiction of Fiume, Matteria and Castelnuovo d'Istria.

Province of Fiume, April 1941 – September 1943. The isles of Veglia ed Arbe are included

From April 1941 to September 1943 the Italian Province of Fiume was enlarged after the victory of the Axis powers over Yugoslavia, with the addition of the Fiuman eastern hinterland and the Carnaro isles of Veglia and Arbe. Some among the local inhabitants started a resistance movement against Italian occupation in these newly annexed zones; Italian military authorities tried to repress this objection with severe measures.

Monument to the victims of the Podhum massacre, carried out by members of the Italian Army on behest of the Prefect of the Province of Carnaro.

When the Armistice of Italy with the Allied was signed, on 8 September 1943, the former province of Carnaro fell under Hitler's Germany (OZAK), and Carnaro and Fiume led one of Italy's highest death rates from Nazi death camps, fourth behind Gorizia, Florence, and Genoa.[3] Amongst those arrested was Giovanni Palatucci, the Italian questore of Fiume, who saved the lives of thousands of Jews.[4] He also created a Committee comprising both Italians and Slavic partisans, as well as Jews, as an attempt to safeguard the independence of Fiume once Germany would have been defeated. He was deported to Dachau and died there in 1945.

Fiume bombed by the RAF (1944)

Following Palatucci's dismissal, his powers of questore directly passed to GESTAPO, and Italian sovereignty on the area was seriously compromised; in April 1945, Josip Broz Tito's partisans invaded the province with little to no opposition and claimed it for Yugoslavia. Only in 1947, however, was the Italian Province of Fiume formally abolished in accordance with international law and its entry into Yugoslavia was acknowledged.

Nowadays, its former territory roughly corresponds to Primorje-Gorski Kotar County in Croatia.



Name Height (m) Place
Snowy Mountains 1,796m Julian Alps
Monte Zatreppo 1,454m Julian Alps
Monte Maggiore 1,396m Ćićarija
Monte Trestenico 1,243m Julian Alps
Alpe Grande 1,271m Ćićarija
Monte Saw 1,234m Ćićarija
Mount Eagle 1,106m Ćićarija
Mount Taiano 1,028m Ćićarija
Monte Sabni 1,024m Ćićarija



The provincial capital, the city of Fiume, was annexed to Italy with the Treaty of Rome, (27 January 1924), and the formal Italian annexation occurred on 16 March 1924, and the Rijeka province between April 1941 and September 1943, when it included the islands of Krk and Rab. Amongst the municipalities with the highest percentage of Italian population was Laurana, followed by Volosoca, with the town of Opatija. The majority of inhabitants of the municipalities besides the Italian presence, were ethnic Croats. Exception to this was the aforementioned town of Opatija, where there was no ethnic majority but were over-represented by Italians, Croats, and Slovenes, and in small parts also German.

Towns and villages of the respective Province of Fiume




The province was covered by the following highways:




The people spoke different languages and dialects, amongst which include:


Almost the entire population professed Catholicism and looked towards the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rijeka a suffragan of the time, or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gorizia, of the Ecclesiastical Region of Triveneto.

List of Prefects of the Province of Carnaro (1924–45)

See also



  1. Yearbook 1938-General XVI, Intercropping Italian Tourist , Milan, 1938 p. 661
  2. Royal Decree Law, 22 February 1924, n. 213
  3. Data refer to all political prisoners and Jews. Brunello Cloaks and Nicola Tranfaglia, The Book of the deportees, Volume 1, Volume 3, p. 2533. ISBN 978-88-425-4228-5
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