Pordenone

Pordenone (Friulian: Pordenon) is a comune of Pordenone province of northeast Italy in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. The name comes from the Latin "Portus Naonis" meaning the port on the river Noncello (Latin Naon).

Pordenone was created in the High Middle Ages as a river port on the Noncello, with the name Portus Naonis. In the area, however, there were already villas and agricultural settlements in the Roman age. In 1378, after having been administrated by several feudatories, the city was handed over to the Habsburg family, forming an Austrian enclave within the territory of Patriarchate of Aquileia. In the 14th century Pordenone grew substantially due to the flourishing river trades, gaining the status of city in 1314.
In 1514 it was acquired by the Republic of Venice, under which a new port was built and the manufacturers improved.

After the Napoleonic parenthesis Pordenone was included in the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. The railway connection and the construction of the Pontebbana road implied the decline of the port, but spurred a substantial industrial development (especially for the working of cotton). Pordenone was annexed to Italy in 1866.

The cotton sector, however, decayed after the damage of World War I and the 1929 crisis never recovered at all. After World War II the local Zanussi became a world giant of household appliances, and in 1968 Pordenone became capital of the province with the same name, including territory belonging to Udine.

After World War II, Pordenone, as well as the rest of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, became garrison for many military units, in order to prevent an eventual Soviet invasion from east. The heavy military presence was an important factor in the economical development of this once depressed area.

Pordenone is as now garrison of the 132nd Armored Brigade "Ariete".
Main sights:
- Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, with its characteristic Gothic and Renaissance edifices, some with frescoes.
- Palazzo Ricchieri, today seat of the Town Art Museum. It was originally a tower-house from the 13th century, later adapted as a mansion by the Venetian family of Ricchieri.
- The Gothic Communal Palace (1291-1395). The loggia, the pinnacles and the watch-tower, designed by painter Pomponio Amalteo, were added in the 16th century.
- Castello di Torre ("Tower Castle") (late 12th century), residence of the Ragogna family and now seat of the Western Friuli Archaeological Museum. It was assaulted in 1402 by Imperial troops, who left in place only a tower.
- Roman Villa of Torre, remains of a patrician villa discovered in the 1950s.
- Cathedral of St. Mark (Duomo) was built from 1363 in Romanesque-Gothic style and restored in the 16th and 18th centuries. It houses a famous fresco of San Rocco and an altarpiece by the native Renaissance painter Giovanni Antonio de' Sacchis (commonly known as Il Pordenone). It has a 79 m bell tower.
- The church of the Santissima Trinità ("Holy Trinity"), alongside the Noncello river. It has an octagonal plant and frescoes by Giovanni Maria Calderari, pupil of Il Pordenone.