Palmanova is a city in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia tourist region of eastern Italy roughly 25 miles northwest of Trieste and 16 miles south of Udine. Palmanova is a pre-planned Renaissance town conceived by the administrator of the Republic of Venice and built in 1593. The geometrically perfect layout of Palmanova is actualized by its nine-point polygonal star shape-it is aptly named the “star-shaped city.” Enclosed by moats and walls it features six avenues each leading to the city center forming a hexagonal square.
The date of Palmanova’s official foundation is October 7, 1593. This date honors two important events; the commemoration of the Patron Saint of Palmanova, St Justine and the anniversary of a triumph over the Turks known as the Victory of Lepanto dating back to 1571. The town was created as the ultimate fortification with each star point designed to defend the ones next to it. Many 16th century military advancements are interwoven in Palmanova’s design. Triple-gated and surrounded by moats, the outside edge of fortifications were designed and built during Napoleon’s ruling years. From 1815 through to the late 1860s, Palmanova was under Austrian rule. More than 50 years after, it was appropriated to Italy along with west Friuli and Veneto. Palmanova was declared a National Monument in 1960
Ideal Renaissance City
Palmanova was built on the principles of a utopia. Utopian ideals included a destination where the whole of society is without fault and follows the idea of equality; each member of society has equal wealth, respect, and life in general. The Ideal City of the Renaissance had a geometric shape and was enveloped by a wall offering military protection, but also keeping the knowledge of resident’s circulating and passing to each other without escaping. The harmony of the geometric shape was based on ideals during the Renaissance suggesting beauty encourages society’s wellness as a whole.
All roads lead to the Piazza Grande in Palmanova. With its idealistic geometric design all main arteries open up to it. The Piazza Grande is the heart of Palmanova. Here there are restaurants, shops, and outdoor cafes. The piazza is also home to Cathedral de Palma de Mallorca. From the cathedral it’s easy to walk to any of the three main city gates. There is a network of tunnels running underneath the city walls which can be explored so don’t forget a flashlight. Visitors can arrange a tour of all the military aspects of Palmanova to enjoy a better understanding of the history behind the entire concept.
Palmanova Hotels & Lodging
As one might expect, Palmanova does not have a plethora of hotels or other lodging options. The city has just a handful of hotels, the main one being the Hotel Roma. It is clean and comfortable with a homey feel and prime location in the city center just a short walk to the ancient walls. Wi-Fi, free parking, and onsite dining are available. Hotel Ai Dogi is also in the square. It is a crisp, clean, gleaming hotel with marble floors and utilitarian spaces. The hotel is well known for offering complimentary tours and bicycles to guests. They also provide free visits to the local winery and discounts at the main spa.