Fortifications: the Rocca of Sasso di Montefeltro

3d model and reconstruction

Fortifications: the Rocca of Sasso di Montefeltro

Reconstruction of the Rocca of Sasso di Montefeltro based on the drawings in the Magliabechi Codex by Francesco di Giorgio Martini.

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Short history of

Fortifications: the Rocca of Sasso di Montefeltro

The development of warfare techniques and the introduction of firearms, in the second half of the fifteenth century, accelerated the renewal of military architecture. The huge development of artillery led to a change in fortifications and project solutions were introduced suitable for shooting and defense, which no longer took into account the conditions of the ground and the needs of the place to be fortified inside, but rather the shooting trajectories and covering and enfilade principles.

The high walls of the fortress were replaced by thick and low ramparts, more suitable for escaping bullets from bombards and sustaining their impact. The adjustment of existing masonry required making the walls lower and thicker, replacing the square towers (or in any case with edges which could easily be damaged) with rounded structures, creating embankments and amassing soil on the inside of the walls.

The development of these new techniques, which radically changed the relationship between town and countryside, affected town planning for centuries. The fortresses became real war machines, which were built by specialized technicians such as Luciano Laurana, Baccio Pontelli, the Sangallo brothers – who disseminated the use of the pentagonal rampart – and, most notably, Francesco di Giorgio Martini. The latter, considered the real father of modern-day fortification, devoted to military technique the most substantial section in his treatise. He applied the new criteria of fortification to the fortress system designed by Federico da Montefeltro for the Marca Urbinate domain, resulting in an admirable balance between functionality and aesthetic quality.