Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th Centuries: Stato da Terra – Western Stato da Mar

N45 42 12 E9 39 49
Date of Inscription: 2017
Criteria: (iii)(iv)
Property : 378.37 ha
Buffer zone: 1,749.62 ha
Ref: 1533
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This property consists of 6 components of defence works in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro, spanning more than 1,000 km between the Lombard region of Italy and the eastern Adriatic Coast. The fortifications throughout the Stato da Terra protected the Republic of Venice from other European powers to the northwest and those of the Stato da Mar protected the sea routes and ports in the Adriatic Sea to the Levant. They were necessary to support the expansion and authority of the Serenissima. The introduction of gunpowder led to significant shifts in military techniques and architecture that are reflected in the design of so-called alla moderna / bastioned, fortifications, which were to spread throughout Europe.

The Venetian Works of Defence between the 16th and 17th centuries: Stato da Terra – western Stato da Mar consists of six components located in Italy, Croatia and Montenegro and spanning more than 1000 km between the Lombard region of Italy and the eastern Adriatic Coast. Together, they represent the defensive works of the Serenissima between the 16th and 17th centuries, the most significant period of the longer history of the Venetian Republic; and demonstrate the designs, adaptations and operations of alla moderna defences, which were to feature throughout Europe.

The introduction of gunpowder led to significant shifts in military techniques and architecture that are reflected in the design of fortifications – termed alla moderna. The organisation and defences of the Stato da Terra (protecting the Republic from other European powers to the northwest) and the Stato da Mar (protecting the sea routes and ports in the Adriatic Sea to the Levant) were needed to sustain the expansion and power of the Republic of Venice.

The expansive territory of the Serenessima was indisputably the near-exclusive setting of the genesis of the alla moderna or bastioned system during the Renaissance; and the extensive and innovative defensive networks established by the Republic of Venice are of exceptional historical, architectural and technological significance. The attributes of the Outstanding Universal Value include earthworks and structures of fortification and defence from the Venetian Republic in the 16th and 17th centuries. Strongly contributory to these are the landscape settings, and which strengthen the visual qualities of the six components, as well as urban and defensive structures from both earlier (Medieval) and more recent periods of history (such as the Napoleonic and Ottoman period modifications and additions) that allow the serial components to be truthfully presented and the tactical coherence of each military site in its final state to be recognised.

Criterion (iii): The Venetian Works of Defence provide an exceptional testimony of the alla moderna military culture, which evolved within the Republic of Venice in the 16th and 17th centuries, involving vast territories and interactions. Together the components demonstrate a defensive network or system for the Stato da Terra and the western Stato da Mar centred in the Adriatic Sea or Golfo di Venezia, which had civil, military, urban dimensions that extended further, traversing the Mediterranean region to the Levant.

Criterion (iv): The Venetian Works of Defence present the characteristics of the alla moderna fortified system (bastioned system) built by the Republic of Venice following changes that were introduced following the increased use of firearms. Together the six components demonstrate in an exceptional way the characteristics of the alla moderna system including its technical and logistic abilities, modern fighting strategies and new architectural requirements within the Stato da Terra and the western portions of the Stato da Mar.

Suggested Bases:


Zadar is a city in northern Dalmatia, Croatia. In 2016 Zadar won a contest for the European Best Destination. Its Venetian city walls are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The centre is easy enough to get around on foot. To reach the bus and train stations or Youth Hostel you will probably need to catch one of the frequent local buses, which are the only form of public transportation. Walk around the atmospheric streets of the old town, located on the peninsula. There are 34 old churches on the peninsula, and all of them with a very rich history. The oldest is St. Simeon. Crkva svetog Donata (Church of Saint Donatus). The church is one of the best preserved pre-Romanesque buildings in the world. It is pretty difficult to miss, as it has become the most recognizable symbol of Zadar. The church is no longer in use for religious ceremonies, and today is a museum [read more].

Split is a city in Central Dalmatia, Croatia, and the seat of the Split-Dalmatia county. The city was built around the Diocletian palace (a palace/fort built for the retired Roman emperor Diocletian) where the locals sought refuge centuries ago. Wandering the historic centre of Split you can still clearly see the Roman walls, squares, and temples. Because of its ideal climate, with 2,800 hours of sunlight each year, local people have a few nicknames for Split: “The most beautiful city in the world” and “Mediterranean flower”. Many famous Croatian sports people were born in Split, so locals often nicknamed their city “The sportiest city in the world”. The most popular sport institution is the football club Hajduk. Large portions of the city are painted with the club’s colors and logo. This is done by Torcida, the oldest supporters group in Europe, established in 1950. Besides the bell tower of St. Duje, the symbols of city are the Dalmatian dog and a donkey [read more].

Zagreb is a city in Central Croatia and the capital of Croatia. Zagreb is a vibrant city of around 800,000 people (metropolitan area: 1,200,000). The city boasts a charming medieval ‘old city’ with architecture and cobbled streets reminiscent of Vienna, Budapest, Prague and other Central-European capitals. In 2005 it was visited by over half a million tourists, mainly from Austria, Germany and Italy. The city of Zagreb is mainly divided into two parts Gornji grad (Upper Town) and Donji grad (Lower Town). They are the cultural, religious, and commercial hubs of Zagreb. These are where most of the restaurants, bars and tourist sights are located. The Upper Town, which is the medieval core of the city, developed as two separate towns – Kaptol, the seat of the Bishop, and Gradec, the free town where tradesmen and artisans lived merged to form the northern section of historic Zagreb [read more].


Milan (Italian: Milano; Milanese: Milan) is financially the most important city in Italy, and home to the Borsa Italiana stock exchange. It is the second most populous city proper in the country, but sits at the centre of Italy’s largest urban and metropolitan area. While not considered as beautiful as some Italian cities, having been greatly destroyed by Second World War bomb raids, the city has rebuilt itself into a thriving cosmopolitan business capital. In essence, for a tourist, what makes Milan interesting compared to other places is that the city is truly more about the lifestyle of enjoying worldly pleasures: a paradise for shopping, football, opera, and nightlife. Milan remains the marketplace for Italian fashion – fashion aficionados, supermodels and international paparazzi descend upon the city twice a year for its spring and autumn fairs [read more].

Venice (Italian: Venezia; Venetian: Venexia) used to be an independent republic, and remains one of Italy’s most important cities. This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed (there are slightly more tourists than residents), but the romantic charm remains. It is also known as the birthplace of composers Tomaso Albinoni and Antonio Vivaldi. Venice and its lagoon are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The comune (municipality) of Venice is made up of numerous islands in the Venetian Lagoon as well as a stretch of terraferma (mainland) in northern Italy. The comune is divided into six boroughs, the most famous of which (known as Venezia Insulare) comprises the historic city of Venice as well as the islands of Giudecca, Murano, Burano, Torcello, Mazzorbo, and Sant’Erasmo [read more].

Turin (Italian: Torino, Piedmontese: Turin), a large city of about one million inhabitants, is set in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, a one-hour drive from the French border and slightly more than that from the Mediterranean sea. It’s famous for being the home of Italy’s royal family. Today, Turin, with its fine, aristocratic atmosphere, old world sophisticated shops, grand boulevards and palaces, leafy parks, and several art galleries, is an increasingly popular tourist resort. The 2006 Winter Olympics, and its status the same year as World Book Capital, have prompted tourists to visit this beautiful and underestimated Italian city, which has a longstanding cultural and artistic history. Turin was the first capital of modern Italy, and was the host of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. While it’s not a famous tourist destination like Florence or Rome, the setting is pleasant, with the Po River flowing through the city, the genteel hills overlooking the city and scattered with pleasant villas and surrounded by the Italian Alps off in the distance [read more].


Besides being the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica is also the country’s largest city, having a population of some 180,000 people. The city is situated in central Montenegro, in the scarce Montenegrin lowlands between the Dinaric Alps and Lake Scutari. The Podgorica area has been continuously inhabited since the Illyrian and Roman eras, with settlement on the site of today’s Podgorica being firmly established during Ottoman Empire rule. Podgorica was reincorporated in Montenegro in 1878, when the city started to take a more European shape. Nazi and Allied bombings during World War II destroyed much of the historical Ottoman and Montenegro-era Podgorica architecture, and the city was reborn as the capital of Montenegro in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The city was then rebuilt and expanded in a manner typical of Eastern bloc countries, so it is mostly a modern planned city, and by no means a principal sightseeing destination [read more].

Niksic is the second largest city in Montenegro. In Nikšić proper there are a few sites to see but most of the really interesting places are located on the way to or from the city (such as the Ostrog Monastery) [read more].

Although not the most spectacular city in Montenegro (Kotor takes that prize), Herceg Novi is probably the most pleasant and warrants several days’ visit. The city is particularly a good alternative to the very touristy Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cities have similar architecture but Herceg Novi is neither as grand nor as touristy and expensive. Herceg Novi translates into English as “New Castle”. Herceg Novi is a very popular destination for tourists from the neighbouring Serbia, and, to a lesser extent from Russia. In spite of this tourist boom, the city has managed to some extent to keep the traditional slow Montenegrin lifestyle. The locals are very welcoming and you are never annoyed by street vendors. A sizeable Bosnian (Serb) refugee population flooded into Herceg Novi during the war years. Many of the camps are still around although they have been turned into more permanent (and quite nice) settlements. You can still see them on the bus as you leave the city [read more].

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