And now for something completely different I give you a design map of Palmanova, Italy founded and built in the late 1500’s. A city after my own heart. From what I gather, they designed the city as a fortress with the intention of it being a Utopia.
Built ex nihilo according to humanist and military specifications, Palmanova was supposed to be inhabited by self-sustaining merchants, craftsmen, and farmers. However, despite the pristine conditions and elegant layout of the new city, no one chose to move there, and by 1622 Venice was forced to pardon criminals and offer them free building lots and materials if they would agree to settle the town. Thus began the forced settlement of this magnificent planned space, which remains lifeless to this day and is visited only by curious scholars of Renaissance cities and bored soldiers who are still posted there to guard the Italian frontier.
Per google earth, here’s how it looks today:
Aside from its past and current history, I find it fascinating that 1) it still exists, 2) they used geometry to design it, and 3) it uses an interesting combination odd and even numbers. It contains two outer concentric star outlines with 9 points, two other sets of 9 star points (triangle-like) and a center divided into 6 sections, with 3 roads that lead in/out of the town center.
While it’s too bad it fell short of its founding intention, I’m glad it’s still here for us to enjoy. I need to add this to my “must visit someday” list.
For more about Palmanova, Italy:
- www.viralnova.com/palmanova-walled-city/ (great photos)