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Title: Palmanova  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Alberto Conti, European route E55, Mantova Mechanized Brigade, International E-road network, Gonars
Collection: Cities and Towns in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Forts in Italy, Star Forts
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Città di Palmanova
Aerial view of Palmanova
Aerial view of Palmanova
Coat of arms of Palmanova
Coat of arms
Palmanova is located in Italy
Location of Palmanova in Italy
Country Italy
Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Province Udine (UD)
Frazioni Jalmicco, Sottoselva, San Marco
 • Mayor Federico Cressati
 • Total 13.32 km2 (5.14 sq mi)
Elevation 27 m (89 ft)
Population (21 December 2009)
 • Total 5,406
 • Density 410/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym Palmarini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 33057
Dialing code 0432
Patron saint Justina of Padua
Saint day October 7
Website Official website

Palmanova (Friulian: Palme) is a town and comune in northeastern Italy. The town is an excellent example of star fort of the Late Renaissance, built up by the Venetians in 1593.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Ideal city of the Renaissance 3
  • Main sights 4
    • Cathedral 4.1
    • Other 4.2
  • Transport 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


Located in the southeast part of the autonomous region Friuli-Venezia Giulia, it is 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Udine, 28 kilometres (17 mi) from Gorizia and 55 kilometres (34 mi) from Trieste, near the junction of the motorways A23 and A4.


Satellite image of Palmanova
Map of the fortress in the 17th century

On 7 October 1593, the superintendent of the

  • "Palmanova, Italy".  
  • "Palmanova, Italy".  
  • Palmanova medieval festival (photo)
  • Official website of the City
  1. Hale, J R. “Palmanova: analisi di una citta fortalezza.” Burlington Magazine, 1984, 447. Vol. 126 No. 9762
  2. Rowe, Collin. The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. The MIT Press, 1982. pg 206-211
  3. Rowe, Collin. The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. 206-211
  4. Bierman, Judah. PMLA. Science and Society in the New Atlantis and Other Renaissance Utopias. Vol. 78, MLA, 1963. pg. 492-500
  5. Lang, S. “Sforzinda, Filarete, and Filelfo.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 35, (1972): 391-397. Warlburg Institute
  6. de la Croix, Horst. “Military Architecture and the Radial City Plan in Sixteenth Century Italy.” The Art Bulletin 42, no. 4 (1960): 263-290. College Art Association
  7. Lang, S. “Sforzinda, Filarete, and Filelfo.” 391-397
  8. Rowe, Collin. The Mathematics if the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. 206-211
  9. Rowe, Collin. The Mathematics if the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. 206-211
  1. ^ “Renaissance war studies”, John Rigby Hale, London Hambledon Press, 1983, pg. 185 [1] ISBN 0-907628-02-8
  2. ^ Muir, Edward (2007). The culture wars of the late Renaissance : skeptics, libertines, and opera. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. xiii, 175 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.  
  3. ^ Date: July 05, 2001 / Location: Palmanova / Venue: Piazza Grande / Tour: Brand New Day 1999/01,, Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Ferrovia Udine-Cervignano
  5. ^ Sito Ufficiale del Comune di Palmanova : Comune di Palmanova


See also

Palmanova can be reached from the nearby motorways, A23 (Udine-Tarvisio) and A4 (Turin-Trieste) and by the railway between Udine and Cervignano[4][5] There are also bus connections.


  • 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 Istrian stone.
  • The singer Sting gave an outdoor concert in Palmanova's main piazza on 5 July 2001[3]


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

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 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.

Piazza Grande with the cathedral.


Main sights

The shape also comes from cosmological ideas, reflecting the religion of the day. It is believed to be the most perfect of all geometries, because the radii are equidistant at all points, and it is a mirror of a harmonious cosmic order. In the Catholic religion, as well as the pagan religions Catholicism supplanted, the circle is the basis of everything created. It represents perfection, as well as the cycle of life and death. What this means is that the circular shape also works to imitate nature, thus appearing to blend into the surrounding countryside instead of sticking out in the landscape the way most cities do up until this very day. The designers' intent was more than mere camouflage, they meant for the city to be in harmony with the divine.

The circular shape of Palmanova was greatly influenced by the fact that it needed to be a fort. At the time of its construction, many other urban theoreticians found the checkerboard was more useful, but it could not provide the protection that military architects desired. The walls of a practical fort are run at angles so that enemy soldiers could not approach it easily because the angles made it possible to establish overlapping fields of fire.

Alberti, followed by Filarete, were the first to develop the ideas of Utopia into the plan of a city. Filarete designed a concentric city, with peaks and radiating streets, which he called Sforzinda. His geometry was the imitation of a schema representing the work. It is believed to have derived from two overlaying squares. Sforzinda later became the most influential plan in the design of Palmanova. Since Palmanova was built during the renaissance, it imposed geometrical harmony and followed the idea that beauty reinforces the wellness of a society. Each road and move was carefully calibrated and each part of the plan had a reason for being. Each person would have the same amount of responsibility and land, and each person had to serve a specific purpose. The concentric shape was the most prominent design move, and had many reasons for being.

During the renaissance many ideas of a utopia, both as a society and as a city, surfaced. Utopia was considered to be a place where there was perfection in the whole of its society. This idea was started by Sir Thomas More, when he wrote the book Utopia. The book described the physical features of a city as well as the life of the people who lived in it. His book sparked a flame in literary circles. A great many other books of similar nature were written in short order. They all followed a major theme: equality. Everyone had the same amount of wealth, respect, and life experiences. The society had a calculated elimination of variety and a monotonous environment. The city where they lived was always geometric in shape, and was surrounded by a wall. These walls provided military strength, but also protected the city by preserving and passing on man’s knowledge. The knowledge, learning and science gave form to the daily life of the people living inside the walls. The knowledge of each person was shared by the entire society, and there was no way to let any information either in or out. As Thomas More said in his book, "He that knows one knows them all, they are so alike one another."

Palmanova was built following the ideals of a Giulio Savorgnano designed it to be a Venetian military station on the eastern frontier as protection from the Ottoman Empire.

Ideal city of the Renaissance

American professor Edward Wallace Muir Jr. said on Palmanova: "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 example of a Renaissance planned town: Palmanova, a fortress city designed to defend against attacks from the Ottomans in Bosnia. Built ex nihilo according 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."[2]

. In 1960 Palmanova was declared a national monument. Friuli, when it was annexed to Italy together with Veneto and the western Austria. From 1815 to 1866 the city was under cavaliers, and 18 lunettes, 9 bastions, 9 ravelins domination. The final fortress consists of: 9 Napoleonic A second phase of construction took place between 1658 and 1690, and the outer line of fortifications was completed between 1806 and 1813 under the [1]

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