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Venetian Defense Works

Le opere di difesa veneziane

The “Venetian Defense Works” entered the UNESCO list of World Heritage. Thanks to a transnational project presented in 2016 by Italy, together with Croatia and Montenegro, to UNESCO in Paris entitled “Venetian defense works between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: State of the Earth – Western Sea State” on the basis of which an important site has been built, a collection has been structured that presents the extraordinary set of the most important defensive systems made by the Republic of Venice, designed after the discovery of gunpowder and located along the State of Land and the Sea State. The World Heritage Committee has therefore decided to include in the list of UNESCO sites, the defense works present in Bergamo, Palmanova, Peschiera del Garda, Zadar and Sibenik Croatia, Cattaro for Montenegro. The “Venetian defense works between the fifteenth and seventeenth century State of the Earth – State from the West Sea” are represented by six fortifications located in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro that make up a network of more than one thousand kilometers of extension between Lombardy and the east coast of the Adriatic sea. Substantially reproduces the typical fortifications built by the Republic of Venice in the period between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: all modes of intervention, the design criteria that refer to military “modern” architecture developed throughout Europe. The gunpowder transformed the techniques and the military architecture bringing great changes in the fortification and defense works of the Land State (to protect the Serenissima from the Northwest European powers) and the State of Sea (to defend the sea routes and ports, from the Adriatic Sea to Levante) necessary to protect the territory and the power of Venice. During the Renaissance period the “bastion” or “modern” defense system was born, characterized by impressive excavation works for the hypogean routes to the complex artifacts representing the constructive novelties elaborated between XVI and XVII by the Republic of Venice. The importance of this site is strengthened by the context in which the six components arise, all able to offer suggestive environments within the medieval areas in which they arise, to highlight the original Venetian matrix and to emphasize with strength their own tactical function and defensive. These defensive works are an important testimony of the military architecture that, at the time, constituted a “unique” defensive barrier both in its kind and in the territorial extent between the State of the Land and the West Sea State: in fact they included the Venetian walls, which enclose the Upper Town, a true defensive jewel over 6 kilometers long built between 1561 and 1588, the fortress-city of Palmanova (1593) with its 9-point polygonal star plan (now a national monument) and Peschiera del Garda, one of the most characteristic places of Lake Garda with the wonderful historical center surrounded by defensive walls for whose construction the natural route of the river was modified.

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