Sarzana and Sarzanello

Transitional Design and Renaissance Designers.

The fortress of Sarzanello is well known to everyone interested in the history and development of fortification. Photographs of it have been responsible for more than one person becoming interested in fortification. It has appealed to those with a taste for romantic ruin and to those who like to see logic and theory realised in stone in fortifications. The structure dates from that fascinating period of design which we call 'transitional,' a time when the development of gunpowder artillery was forcing designers to re-examine the principles of defence and attack but before any new philosophy of defence had been devised. Sarzanello, because it appears to remain largely intact and because of the large feature known as the rivellino incorporated in its defensive system, is illustrated in all the standard works. Going through the books that feature it, one is impressed by divergence of opinion about its designers and its significance in the evolution of fortification practice. This piece is an attempt to look again at its design and at the influences and pressures responsible for its present appearance.

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Author: John Harris

Article and Image Source: Fortress Study Group:

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Keywords: Sarzana, Sarzanello, Citadel, Fortress, Design, Military Architecture, Italy, Renaissance

John Harris

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