The Image and the City - The Defense of Corfù previous 4/6 next

Corfù: the centre of the Ionian




The island of Corfù  played a decisive role in the overall strategy in the fortified organisation of the entire Venetian dominion. In both practice and theory, there emerged a close dependence between the 'cose da terre' ('things of the land') and 'cose da mare' ('things of the sea'). The general captain of the Venetian army claimed that in the 1530s, given the manifest impossibility of providing maximum fortification for every area that needed defensive structures, it was best to prepare mid-scale assistance in such cases. It was, however, soon clear that maximum security had to be provided for two places which were essential fortified focal points: 'which were convenient for some and like warehouses for the others, which could be Corfù in the East and Verona in Lombardy'.1 This conception led to diversifications in the functions, environment, and urban landscape between Corfù and other centres of the Ionian Islands  in the middle of the sixteenth century, in fact, Cephalonia nd Zante were not considered as important as Corfù in the Venetian noblemen's eyes. As Concina wrote, this enterprise required continual upgrading and 'expansion of the city walls, initiated in the fifteenth century, of the protected burgum around two fortresses of Byzantine and Angevin origin, the Castel del mare and Castello della Campana'. This enterprise was not completed until the early eighteenth century.

1 'li quali fussero comodi a tutto il resto et fussero come magazeni alli altri, il che poteva essere Corfù in Levante et Verona in Lombardia'

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Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
© 1996 by the VENIVA consortium