“Star City” of the Serenissima
Palmanova is known as the “star city” because of its 9-pointed star-shaped polygonal plan. A fortress city founded by the Venetians in 1593 to defend the territorial integrity of the Serenissima against the Habsburgs. The main designer was General Giulio Savorgnan, who devised two circles of fortifications with curtains, ramparts, false bastions, moat and ravelins to protect the three city gates. The third circle was built in 1805 by the French who had occupied it. Set on fire by retreating Italian troops after the defeat of Caporetto, it was preserved during the WWII. It has been a national heritage site since 1960 and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017.
Besides the three monumental gates providing access to the city, the hexagonal-shaped Piazza Grande, where the most important buildings, including the 16th-century Palmanova Cathedral, and the eleven statues of the general superintendents, is worth mentioning.
The dungeon of Porta Cividale is home to the Military History Museum, exhibiting uniforms, relics and documents relating to the Corps and Units that alternated in Palmanova from its foundation to the 20th century. Here begins the itinerary on the fortified system surrounding the city from the curtain wall to the loggia, from the bastion to the moat up to the Lunetta, the third line of defence added by Napoleon.