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Palmanova ( ) is a town and comune in northeastern Italymarker, close to the border with Sloveniamarker. It is located 20 km from Udinemarker, 28 km from Goriziamarker and 55 km from Triestemarker near the junction of the Autostrada Alpe-Adria (A23) and the Autostrada Veneziamarker-Triestemarker (A4).

Palmanova is famous for its fortress plan and structure, called a star fort, imitated in the Modern era by numerous military architects.


On October 7, 1593, the superintendent of the Republic of Venicemarker founded a revolutionary new kind of settlement: Palmanova. The city’s founding date commemorated the victory of European forces (supplied primarily by the Venetian republic) over Ottoman Turks in the Battle of Lepantomarker. October 7 also celebrated Saint Justina, chosen as the city’s patron saint.

Using all the latest military innovations of the 16th century, this tiny town was a fortress in the shape of a nine-pointed star, designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi. In between the points of the star, ramparts protruded so that the points could defend each other. A moat surrounded the town, and three large, guarded gates allowed entry.

The outer line of fortifications was completed under the Napoleonic domination. From 1815 to 1866 the city was under Austriamarker, and was annexed 50 years later to Italy together with Veneto and the western Friulimarker.

In 1960 Palmanova was declared a national monument.

The Idea of Community in Renaissance Italy by EDWARD MUIR "The humanist theorists of the ideal city designed numerous planned cities that look intriguing on paper but were not especially successful as livable spaces. Along the northeastern frontier of their mainland empire, the Venetians began to build in 1593 the best exam- ple of a Renaissance planned town: Palmanova, a fortress city designed to defend against attacks from the Ottomans in Bosnia. Built ex nihilo accord- ing to humanist and military specifications, Palmanova was supposed to be inhabited by self-sustaining merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. However, despite the pristine conditions and elegant layout of the new city, no one chose to move there, and by 1622 Venice was forced to pardon criminals and offer them free building lots and materials if they would agree to settle the town.18 Thus began the forced settlement of this magnificent planned space, which remains lifeless to this day and is visited only by curious schol- ars of Renaissance cities and bored soldiers who are still posted there to guard the Italian frontier."

Main sights

The cathedral

The cathedral is located in front of the town hall of Palmanova (formerly the Palace of Provveditore). Commissioned in 1603, the construction started later that year under Inspector Girolamo Cappello, and was completed in 1636. Who the architects were is uncertain, but may have been Vincenzo Scamozzi and Baldassare Longhena. The cathedral was not consecrated until 1777, after the town had been included into the Archbishopric of Udine.

The bell tower of the cathedral, erected in 1776, was deliberately made short because enemies attacking the city should not be able to see the cathedral from outside the city walls.

The niches in the facade contain statues representing the saints Justina of Padua, one of Paduamarker's patron saints, and Mark, as well as a statue of Christ, the Redeemer. The facade itself is made of stone from Istriamarker, and was restored in 2000.


  • The three monumental gates Porta Udine, Porta Cividale and Porta Aquileia.
  • The Piazza Grande, to which all the main edifices of the city open, built in Istrianmarker stone.


Palmanova can be reached from the nearby motorways, A23 (Udine-Tarvisio) and A4 (Turin-Trieste).


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