The Ideal Renaissance City
Built in the region of Friuli by the Venetians during the 16th century to protect their lands from Ottoman raids and the Habsburgs, Palmanova has a unique geometrical shape. It’s designed after the utopian model of the ideal Renaissance city.
The concept of a walled-city perfectly geometric in shape was immensely popular among European artists, scholars, and philosophers of the time. So when Venetians, architects, and builders were given the opportunity to build an entire town from the grounds up, they didn’t hesitate to try to bring this idea of life.
The town of Palma was established on October 7th, 1593 — the day that the Venetians defeated the Ottoman invaders in the Battle of Lepanto some two decades earlier. It was constructed in the shape of a nine-pointed star and features three nine-sided ring roads intersecting the streets, which begin from the main square at the center of the fortress.
The Fortress Walls Were Built Later
The first set of walls were completed in the 1620s, while the second wall-ring was constructed several decades later. The most external fortifications were built between 1806 and 1813 when the town was under Napoleonic rule. It was then that the settlement was renamed Palmanova, which translates to “New Palma.”
Palmanova has survived many wars since it was founded and amazingly has managed to retain its one-of-a-kind shape to this day. It currently has an estimated population of 5,500 people and is regarded by experts as the best-preserved and finest example of Renaissance town planning.
If you’re ever in the northeastern parts of Italy, make sure to include this magical town into your itinerary as it will offer you a memorable and long-lasting experience.