City Fortress

The only example of a city of foundation still intact in its form of a nine-pointed star, Palmanova is one of the most important models of military architecture in the modern age, with its star plan formed by three concentric walls, two of them built by the Serenissima Republic of Venice made up of nine bulwarks and nine ravelins and a third, the most external, made up of nine “lunette”, added by Napoleon at the beginning of the 19th century.

It was built in 1593, on the basis of a precise design idea developed by a team of engineers and treatise written to strengthen the defenses on the Friulian territory against the invasions of the Turks and the expansionist aims of the Habsburgs: a perfect example of “modern” fortifications of the age late Renaissance.

In 1960 the fortress was declared a National Monument. On July 9 2017 it became part of the Unesco World Heritage, within the transnational site “The Venetian defense works between the 16th and 17th centuries. Land state – Western sea state”, together with the cities of Bergamo, Peschiera del Garda, Sibenico, Cattaro and Zara ( Since 2018 it has also been included among the ‘Most beautiful boroughs in Italy’.

A dense network of tunnels winds between the fortifications, some of these equipped and open to visitors, which allowed the movement of the militias away from the gaze of the besiegers. Along the entire perimeter of the walls, more than four kilometers long, it is possible to practice sports or take a simple walk admiring the majesty of the defensive works and the natural landscape rich in flora and fauna.

Entering trough one of the three doors, you quickly reach the heart of the city, the Big Square, perfectly hexagonal, overlooked by the main monuments: the Doge Cathedral with its baroque façade, the eleven statues of the general supervisors, who administered the fortress to The Palazzo del Provveditore Generale, then a symbol of military and civil power, now the Town Hall, the Loggia della Gran Guardia, which housed the guardhouse to protect the square and the Provveditore, the Loggia dei Mercanti, the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà.

The Museum of the Great War and the Palmanova Fortress, above Porta Cividale, illustrates the military history of the Fortress from its foundation to the present day.

It is possible to visit the city trough three paths between history and nature: the Architect’s Walk (about 1.5 km), to admire the historic buildings and the geometric arrangement of the road axes, the accesses to the city and the design perfection of its nine-pointed star shape. The second route, Walk in the Parco dei bastion (from 1.8 to 3.5 km) aims to tell the Palmanova conceived as a war machine, evaluating military and defensive needs, the perfect geometry of the forms, also discovering the underground passages of the counter and sortie. The third route is the one that sees tourist travel the 4.3 km of the Ring of Fortifications, between nature and history, on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback, retracing military events of the Renaissance and Napoleonic times.

The main events

Among the main city events: “A.D. Palma alle Armi”, the first week of September, is the Italian historical re-enactment with the highest number of participants in historical dress (over a thousand). The history of the fortress is staged, among in the feverish days of the Gradiscan wars. ”Easter Monday on the Bastions”, the Monday after Easter: guided tours to the city and to the countermine galleries of the Fortress, good food and stroll through the market stalls.

But also: International Athletics Meeting (May 1st), “Ottobre Palmarino”, and the Saint Giustina Fair (Otober 7th), City of Palmanova Half Marathon (November), “Palmanova la Stella di Natale” (Christmas events, from December 1st to January 6th) as well as the city market held every Monday morning.


Infopoint Palmanova Promoturismo FVG
Borgo Udine 4, Palmanova – tel.0432 92 48 15

Comune di Palmanova
Piazza Grande 1, Palmanova – tel. 0432 92 11 11

Equipped tour path in the Venetian Galleries

Entrance: exit from Porta Udine and take the path under the Venetian aqueduct for about 200 meters.
Open on weekends or by reservations (timetable info)
Entrance ticket: Full: 3 €
Free with FVGCard, under 14, tourist guides, journalists, a group leader, disabled people and carers.
For groups, booking via email

Civic Library – tel. 0432 92 95 66
Municipal Police – tel. 0432 92 87 10
Civic Management of the Historical Museum
Borgo Udine 4, Palmanova – tel. 0432 92 21 31
Great War and Palmanova Fortress Museum
Museum Headquarters (Porta Cividale) – tel. 0432 92 35 35
Direction (Piazza Grande 21) – tel. 0432 92 81 75