Palmanova, north east Italy, is a very good example of late Renaissance military architecture (star fort) of the Late Renaissance, built by the Venetians in 1593. The fortress town was classified as a “National Monument” in 1960.
Why was this place built? In short, the locals were getting battered through various wars over the previous couple of hundred of years. They were sick of it.
Between 1470 and 1499 the region of Friuli, under Venetian rule since 1420, had endured no less than seven Turkish raids from the Balkans. Most of the Ventetian defence works were obsolete and insufficient. Only the nearby walled city of Udine could give refuge to the population. In 1500 the Venetians sent Leonardo da Vinci to Friuli and asked him to study the defence works and figure it out.
Later, when the Venetian senators got wind of a Turkish plan for the invasion of the Venetian plains, they got really pissed off and decided to erect a real fortress.
Work started on Palmanova on October 7th 1593.
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Like so many towns on the Adriatic, Monopoli's history has been thoroughly influenced by its east-facing position and its fortified sea-front walls and castle tell many a story.
Parking in or around Piazza XX Settembre, location of a colourful street market, head east towards the cathedral. To find it just look upwards and you are sure to see its elegantly conceived bell tower thrusting into the sky. Built in 1693, the tower is over 60 metres high, completely dominating the town below.