The name Kanfanar in the written form was first mentioned in 1096, during Patriarchate of Aquileia and patriarch Volta. The place became a municipal centar at the beginning of the 18th century. Before that time, Kanfanar was governed by Dvigrad, until wars, malaria and plague destroyed this town nearby. The residents of Dvigrad then left the town and moved to the surrounding villages, and the municipal administration moved to Kanfanar which became a new center.
Before Dvigrad was abbandoned, Kanfanar was a settlement of herdsmen and shepherds. The houses were small and spread across a wider area. A true „renaissance“ happend when people from Dvigrad moved to Kanfanar. At that time many businessmen, built their houses in Kanfanar, as well as municipal leaders, prebendaries etc. All that can be seen on stone inscriptions with data from 18th century. The parish church was built by the end od 17th century.
By the end of 19th century a railway to Pula and Rovinj turned Kanfanar into an very important traffic center. Thanks to that, many craftsmen came to Kanfanar which then turnes into true municipal center.