Torre di porta Villalta
Like Porta Manin and Porta Aquileia, the tower of Porta Villalta was part of Udine’s third and most recent circle of walls. Probably the best preserved of the three, it was built between 1436 and 1440. Its original appearance was very much that of a fortification: it had a square structure with arrowloops and machicolations on the three external walls, while the internal façade was left unconstructed, as it was usually the case. From the 17th to the 19th century it was converted into a residential dwelling for the tower keeper and his family; for this reason a wall was built to close off the inner side of the tower.
In more recent times, Porta Aquileia was frequently threatened with demolition. The most curious episode took place at the end of the 19th century when a debate was raging on the opportunity to pull down the tower, which was old and dilapidated. An anonymous citizens, expressing his dissent, wrote these words on the tower gate, addressing the tower as though it were an old man: “Quando dei Turchi si temea l’attacco / a te volgean le donne la preghiera / Or che è vecchia, un cittadin bislacco / ti dà l’ultimo calcio e buona sera!” (When there was fear of a Turkish attack, / women turned to you in prayer. / Now that you’re old, they give you a kick in the butt / and say good-bye and good riddance!)
Now housing the offices of the Friulian Archaeological Society, the tower contains a restoration workshop, a small library, and a collection of archaeological finds. The earliest exhibits include different types of flint tools from the Neolithic period, and a variety of findings excavated at Palazzo Ottelio (plates, cups, vases, personal ornaments etc) and on the site of the old Palazzo Savorgnan (now demolished) in central Piazza Venerio.
Torre di porta VillaltaVia Micesio, 2
33100 Udine (UD)