Palmanova fortress town, The strategic location of war

Fort in the form of a star – type fortifications, which first appeared in the XV century in Italy. At that time, the medieval fortifications that were built of stone, becoming an easy target for the guns. That is why forts star began to build of brick, earth and other materials that are made to strengthen a much more powerful and have reduced the probability of failure of cannonballs.

Palmanova fortress town, The strategic location of war

City of Palmanova in Northern Italy.


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Map of the fortress in the 17th century.

In the north of Italy is the city of Palmanova, which is a typical example of the fort-star. It was founded in 1593 the Republic of Venice, to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of the victory over the Ottomans and Venice, the Italian peninsula to protect against further Ottoman attacks. Its unique devyatistoronnyaya shape of a star, designed by famous Italian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi.


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Portrait Scamozzi work of Paolo Veronese.

It is believed that Palmanova was the largest fortress in Europe at the time. It had three entrances: Gate Udine, Aquileia and Cividale, and eighteen radial main streets. All streets lead directly to the city center, where flowed into the hexagonal Piazza Grande. A governor’s palace was built in the heart of the city.


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Initially Palmanova was supposed to be a utopia – a place where everything is perfect. The construction of fortresses and buildings were geometrically perfect. The roads were carefully planned and every part of the city had a specific purpose. And all the people who had to live in Palmanova, was supposed to be the same amount of land and duties.

However, despite the fact that this city-fortress became a masterpiece of Venetian military architecture, it was discovered a big problem. To be more specific, no one wanted to live in a new city. The government did not know what to do. The situation was so terrible, that in 1622 the Venetians freed many prisoners and gave them property in Palmanova. That ex-prisoners and were the first settlers of the city.


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View of the city from a height of Palmanova.

Paradoxically, this extraordinary castle, so never and did not take part in any battle. It was under the control of the Venetian Republic for almost 200 years and throughout its history, only three times was besieged. In the early 1800s, Palmanova was invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte, who built the city more military buildings and another outer wall in the form of stars, to protect the city center from the artillery. Palmanova Very soon came under the control of the Austrians and was eventually conquered (along with Venice and the western Friuli), Italy in 1866.


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Piazza Grande with the Cathedral.

During the First and Second World War, the Italian military used the city as a base to build a hospital and a number of fortifications. Although across Europe there are numerous defenses of this kind, Palmanova is considered a unique example of a star fort. In 1960 Palmanova was declared a national monument of Italy and today is very popular among tourists.

Source: Wikipedia


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