BELLUNO | BELLUNO PROVINCE
Belluno has been a township and primary city in the mountains of the Dolomiti since Roman times, now in the old part of the town you find the Venetian influence, and nothing remains from the medieval and Roman periods. Defensive walls were built around the Roman stronghold of Belunum during the medieval period. Venetian rule began in 1404. 400 years of peace ended with Napoleaon's arriavle in 1806. However, the town became a provincial capital of his Italic Kingdom. A major earthquake struck the area in 1873, but it did not halt the urban development. In the later part of the 19th century Piazza dei Martiri became the new town center and focal point for urban development. During the Great War from 1917-18 the area was occupied by the Austrians. In 1943 the Germans occupied the city. The city is the birthplace of Bartolomeno Alberto Cappellari, whom became Pope Gregory XVI from 1831 to 1846. Also well know Italian writer Dino Buzzati is from Belluno.
What is now the town center was first developed in the 1500's as a garden north of the old city walls. As time passed and population continued to rise the Piazza became the main center of Belluno. The square was dedicated to martyrs of the resistance, murdered by the Nazis in 1944. Within the square is the Church of S. Rocco, built in the 16th century and restored in the 19th, inside there is a well know painting of St Francis in Ecstasy (1727).