The star city that has become invisible
The star city that has become invisible

All buildings in Palmanova are built below the horizon so that they cannot be seen from behind the wall, even the bell tower of the cathedral is surprisingly squat for Italy.

Driving past Palmanova visually you will not notice anything surprising, but if you look at the navigator, it will become obvious that the streets of the city form concentric circles.

This town is extremely small, like many towns in Italy, but it is very interesting and unusual because of its history and layout.

On the nearest hatch cover you can see the image of a palm tree, after which it becomes clear that "Palmanova" is really the name of the city associated with a palm tree:)

Palmanova turned out to be an interesting city in terms of layout.It was conceived to be built in accordance with utopian ideals, like a fortress in the form of a regular nine-sided star.Towers were erected on each ray of the star so that each could defend two nearby ones, and the city was surrounded by a moat.

Palmanova still lies within the boundaries of this ditch, i.e. has not expanded since its founding in 1593 by its official date. There are no buildings adjacent to the city outside the fortress wall.

This is what Palmanova looks like from above.

The central square, which is 5 minutes walk from any corner of the city, has the shape of a hexagon and on one of its sides there is a cathedral with a stripped-down bell tower. Bell towers in Italy, usually, can be seen a mile away - they are so long and high. Most often, first you see the city bell tower, then drive a few more kilometers by car, and only then you get to the city, but with Palmanova everything is different.

In the city cathedral there is a bell tower "as tall" as the cathedral itself so that enemies cannot notice a religious building from behind the walls, built at the beginning of the 17th century.Since the city was built by the Venetians, you can occasionally stumble upon their winged lion. He was also on the wall of the cathedral.

The city has only 6 streets leading to the center, so it is impossible to get confused, and the three gates through which you can get inside were named after the three major Italian cities they look at. There are sculptures along the perimeter of the square, at the foot of which there are memorial plaques for the rulers of the city, stating that the people are generally in charge here and they need "freedom, equality, brotherhood."

Various official buildings have been erected around the square, including the City Hall; the rest of the space is occupied by residents' houses and infrastructure facilities. For more than half a century, Palmanova has been considered a national monument, and the inhabitants of the town live in this monument:)


According to the official version, the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi designed the tiny fortress-town in the form of a star with nine rays according to the latest military achievements of the 16th century. Fortifications were built in two lines, and ramparts were poured between the highest points of the rays of the star in such a way that neighboring bastions could defend each other. That is why the length of the edge of each beam exactly corresponds to the firing range of medieval guns. The city, surrounded by a deep moat, could only be entered through one of three guarded gates. Conceived as a perfect war machine, the city was equipped with the entire range of weapons then available.

Professor Edward Wallace Muir Jr. said of Palmanova: “Theorists have devised many ideal cities that were intriguing on paper but were not particularly successful as a residential community. On the northeastern border of their continental empire in 1593, the Venetians began building the finest example of a Renaissance city, Palmanova, a walled city designed to defend against attacks in Bosnia.Built in accordance with social and military requirements, the city was supposed to be populated by merchants, artisans and farmers.

However, despite the favorable conditions and the convenient location of the city, no one dared to move to it. In 1622, Venice was forced to offer free housing in Palmanova and provision for pardoned criminals who agreed to settle in the city. Thus began the forced settlement of this magnificently planned place, which is essentially empty to this day, except for the curious students visiting the cities of the Renaissance, and the bored soldiers who are still stationed there to guard the Italian border."

Indeed, the population of Palmanov is just over 5,000. They are mainly engaged in the tourism sector, maintaining the ancient appearance of the city.

Popular by topic