The citadel of Palmanova, Italy

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

After the exploration of the Skocjan caves in Slovenia, I came back to my Italy and the next stop would have been Palmanova, known because of its fortifications and its concentric citadel or fortress plan. Before visiting Palmanova, I decided to come back to Trieste, the city where I studied during the old good university times.
For me it was time to ger a real flashback and to visit some of the places where I studied, partied and lived. The city of Trieste is really enchanting and I will write a dedicated post as part of my classic travel highlights after a road trip. It's not mainstream, but I would recommend you to save a day and have a day trip or a two-day trip to this city.

Of course I visited my university, since it is located upon hill and i did not have necessarily to go into the city centre and here you can see the University of Trieste headquarters. I also visited my economics department and it was really an incredible flashback!
Diaries of an explorer
The landscape was no that clear: anyway you will see better pics on the next post! :-)
Diaries of an explorer

After this break, I got to Palmanova, which is one of the most famous examples of military architecture: it was built by the Serenissima Republic of Venice in 1593 (the first circle) in order to defend the territory from Austrian and Turkish invasions.

Update July 2017: Palmanova has become part of the Unesco sites as one the Venetian works of defence between 16th and 17th centurues: Stato da Terra- western Stato da Mar. The description is the following: "This property consists of 15 components of defence works in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, spanning more than 1,000 kilometers between the Lombard region of Italy and the eastern Adriatic Coast. 

The fortifications throughout the Stato da Terra protected the Republic of Venice from other European powers to the northwest and those of the Stato da Mar protected the sea routes and ports in the Adriatic Sea to the Levant. They were necessary to support the expansion and authority of the Serenissima. The introduction of gunpowder led to significant shifts in military techniques and architecture that are reflected in the design so-called alla moderna bastioned fortifications, which were to spread throughout Europe".

After that time two other rings were added and this type citadel or fortress was called star fort. In the Modern area, many military architects imitated the defensive lines of Palmanova. A similar example of these fortifications can be found in Maastricht. The fortress consists in 9 ravelins, 9 bastions, 9 lunettes and 18 cavaliers.

I could park my car in the city centre: in some areas you can park for free for 120 minutes. Then I started my minitour from Piazza Grande, the main and central square of the town. It's an hexagonal square.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer

From Piazza Grande you can walk towards Porta Aquileia (in fact Aquileia is not far from Palmanova) and then follow the itinerary displayed on the touristc posters. On the way to the gate, you can find the Arsenal (Palazzo dell'Arsenale o delle Munizioni)
Diaries of an explorer

Close to it, I got to Porta Aquileia (Aquileia Gate), that was the most important gate in Palmanova, since diplomats and other noble men has to cross this gate when they visited this town.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
I followed the historical itinerary of the soldiers and sometimes you can climb the walls and walk over the walls and the ramparts.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Then you can follow the internal road that bounds the first defensive line and find several historical military buildings ( especially some old barracks).
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer
Sometimes you can access to the walls and you can enjoy another great view of the fortifications system.
Diaries of an explorer

Then I got to Porta Udine and came back to the car: in the meantime I could enjoy some nice buildings on my way to the car.
Diaries of an explorer
Diaries of an explorer

Travel tips:
  • Palmanova is for sure part of the off the beaten path Italy; personally I would consider it a place to visit only if you like fortifications, forts or fortresses.. However, it is completely unique as there aren't similar examples around the world.
  • You can visit it in a couple of hours or half a day ( including the itinerary and the museums).
  • There are three hiking trails: the panoramic one or ramparts one, the rivelins and the brook one. If you love the mountain biking, there's another trail created for you. It's also good for nordic walking.
  • You can visit the Historic museum: you need to book in advance by calling the Museum phone number (cost: 2 Euros).
  • Another interesting itinerary is represented by the underground Palmanova, a travel through 4 km of galleries that connect the different ramparts and defensive lines. You can book via the Historical Military Museum or the tourist office.
Where to sleep:
  • Urban Trend Guest House, located at just 300 meters from Piazza Grande, breakfast included and prices around 93 Euros per double room per night.
  • Hotel ai Dogi, just at 50 meters from the church, buffet breakfast, prices around 88 Euros per night per double room.

The next post will be dedicated to the city of Trieste: please do not miss it! :-)

2 commenti:

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Marco - I have seen photos of Palmanova and have always wanted to know more about it! I am so excited to have your post now, and will bookmark it for our next trip. ~ David

Marco Zannin said...

Hei David! That's a coincidence lol! :-) Yeah, I also wanted to visit a bit better this city, but unfortunately that day the museums were closed and would have loved to visit also the underground town. It's really close to Aquileia and this could be part of a good itinerary, that could also include Trieste, the city where I studied that will be the topic of the next post. :-)

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