Chichen Itza
Tanum
Sagarmatha
Mostar
Gebel Berkal
Qin

World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Venetian Works of Defence

Venetian Works of Defence

Venetian Works of Defence Between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar are 6 fortifications along the Adriatic Sea that date from the historic Republic of Venice.

They represent the evolution of Venetian military solutions and their innovations in architecture and methods. In the whole, they created a defensive line that guarded the Venetian commercial network.

Map of Venetian Works of Defence

Legend

  • Cultural

Visit November 2016

In Zadar, the Venetian TWHS is a separate area from the Roman TWHS: these walls, fortifications and related buildings are located on the fringes of the historical town. They were constructed in 1472 to separate (and better protect) Zadar’s peninsular (Roman) core from the mainland. The defence works are still very prominent, except ironically at the sea side where they were destroyed and the Roman Forum was brought to light, the focal point of Zadar's other nomination.

November 2016

The various gates around town have small parking lots, where I was able to find a space and explore the town on foot from there. The most interesting area is the Grimani bastion (now a night club) and the adjoining citadel tower of the Great Captain. When you go to the outer side here, you’ll be in front of without a doubt the major point of interest of this defence system: the Landward Gate or “Porta Terraferma”. It was designed by the famous Venetian architect M. Sanmicheli. The overall setting reminded me a lot of Corfu.

November 2016

Zadar already does attract its fair share of tourists and even in November when I visited, there were numerous other visitors. The town this year already has secured one honorary title: the town hall featured a large banner displaying “Zadar elected European Best Destination 2016”. The Michelin Green Guide for Croatia gives it 2 stars (worth a detour), which seems rather generous. I found it pleasant enough, but had seen all components of both TWHS ánd drank a cappucino on a terrace with the locals within 1.5 hour. Although it must be said that I was visiting on Sunday morning, so for example I wasn’t able to visit the interior of churches like the St. Donatus.

Community Reviews


Ralf Regele Germany 17.07.17

Venetian Works of Defence by Ralf Regele

I visited the two north italian sites in 2014. Luckily, they are close together and can be combined easily.

Bergamo is a very beautiful city by itself. The old city sits on top of a hill, with the city walls all around, lots of medieval towers in the middle and the alps in the background. The defense ring is quite prominent, with an impressive entrance ramp. Still, most visitors will spent more time in the streets of the old city with its various churches, towers, shops and restaurants. I have no clue if the defense works here are significant from the military point of view, but they at least provide a splendid sight, both from the outside and as a viewing platform. I can highly recommend a visit to Bergamo as a whole, ticking off the WHS is just the icing on the cake.

Peschiere del Garda on the other hand is rather unremarkable. Most tourists come here for the access to Lake Garda. The fortifications are easily accessible and can be viewed while walking around the village core. Without any special interest in military history however, they will not capture the attention for very long. On the positive side, Peschiere del Garda is located conveniently on the train line between the WHS cities Verona, Brecia and Bergamo, and the old core can be reached by walking from the train station without a problem. I spent two hours here before proceeding, and had lots of time to spare.

Visited May 2014

Importance 3/5 Beauty 3/5 Uniqueness 2/5 Environment 4/5 Experience 3/5


Els Slots The Netherlands 09.03.16

Venetian Works of Defence by Els Slots

Palmanova features twice on Italy’s current Tentative List: on its own as Fortress Town of Palmanova, ánd as part of The Venetian Works of Defence. The latter is a transnational serial nomination of fortifications in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro, which is scheduled for WH listing in 2017. The bid strategy seems to be using the already inscribed Venice and Kotor as virtual 'bookends', to be able to pull along a string of minor sites between them such as Zadar and this small town of Palmanova.

The fortress town of Palmanova was built by the Venetian Republic in 1593, in the shape of a nine-pointed star. These kind of star fortifications were fashionable in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries primarily in response to the French invasion of the Italian peninsula. The French army was equipped with a new, more powerful cannon that was easily able to destroy traditional fortifications built in the Middle Ages. Palmanova certainly isn’t the only surviving star fortification: we have an ample connection for them already on this website. It is one of the early ones though.

Other reviewers have found it hard to spend more than 30 minutes here. But especially on a bright day I found that there is enough to see and do for a ‘proper visit’ of at least 2 hours:

  • Admire the three city gates from both sides: they date from two different periods and vary enough in design to check them all out.

  • Circumnavigate the town via one of the ‘Nordic walking’ trails. These footpaths are between 4 and 6.3 km in length. Each is dedicated to one of the three phases of construction of the fortifications.

  • End up at the massive hexagonal central square. It looks made for a parade.

  • Visit the Civic History Museum or Historical Military Museum. The Military Museum has an outdoor part too. Be aware though of the limited opening hours of both museums.

    During my short trip to northeastern Italy late February I arrived in Palmanova by direct bus from Aquileia, some 40 minutes south. I got off just after entering the city gate, and walked back to the ramparts. Information panels show the trails that have been created here for mountainbikers and (Nordic) walkers. I took the inner route, which would take 50 minutes to fully complete. It was a very hazy day unfortunately, only the silhouettes of the fortifications were visible. I walked one third of the trail, and then entered the town again via another gate. Passing any of the three city gates on foot is a small adventure, as the entrance is only wide enough for one car and the traffic flows steadily. So the local authorities have installed traffic lights especially for pedestrians to safely overcome this hurdle.

    I had a look around town and ate a pannini for lunch in a typical neighbourhood café, before walking to the railway station for the return trip. The station lies outside of the third gate, and next to an open field where one of the nine star points of the fort can be seen well. This I found the most interesting of the 3 possible approaches into Palmanova.

    The creation of Palmanova was a bit of a failure, historically speaking. It was built ex nihilo by the Venetians, as an ideal city that would be lovely to live in. Unfortunately no volunteer citizens came forward, so the Venetians “pardoned a number of prisoners in 1622 and gave them property in Palmanova”. And although being a fortress, Palmanova never saw a battle. Despite its apparently impenetrable defense, Palmanova was captured twice – first by Napolean and then back by the Kingdom of Italy.


  • Share your experiences!

    Have you been to Venetian Works of Defence? Add your own review!

    Site Info

    Full name: Venetian Works of Defence Between 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar

    Unesco ID: 1533

    Inscribed: 2017

    Type: Cultural

    Criteria: 3   4  

    Link: By Name By ID

    Site History

    • 2017 - Inscribed 

    Locations

    The site has 6 locations.

    • Venetian Works of Defence: City Fortress of Palmanova
    • Venetian Works of Defence: Defensive System of Zadar
    • Venetian Works of Defence: Fortified city of Bergamo
    • Venetian Works of Defence: Fortified city of Peschiera del Garda
    • Venetian Works of Defence: Kotor
    • Venetian Works of Defence: St. Nicholas, Sibenik