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Unusual nineteenth-century fortification whose architecture is anomalous compared to the other military forts erected by the French and Austro-Hungarian administrations.

On the southwestern tip of the island of S. Erasmo, opposite the Lido port, there is the only remaining example in Italy of a Maximilian tower.

After the fall of the Serenissima in 1797, the militarization of the Venetian lagoon began by the French and Austro-Hungarian governments which established the Maritime Stronghold in Forti Staccati; this involved the construction of military headquarters and barracks located in every suppressed convent of the city and in almost all the islands of the lagoon.

The Maximilian Tower was built by the Austrians between 1843 and 1844, who militarily and politically occupied the Lombardy-Veneto region; it was built over the remains of a previous fort built by the French during the Napoleonic occupation between 1811 and 1814.

Circular-shaped structure consisting of a covered area of ​​600 square meters. to which to add some works placed outside, such as: the tank, the ammunition warehouse and some artillery positions. Crossing the entrance hall, which is also circular in shape, you reach fifteen cells divided over two floors of about 40 square meters. moon. The first floor was equipped with a series of gunboats and armed with a battery of cannons on the roof embankment that could rotate around the horizon - or 360 ° - thanks to a special rail, thus allowing almost total coverage of the territory.

Together with the Sant'Erasmo Battery (1859-64), the Ridotti di Sant'Erasmo Vecchio and Nuovo (1811-14 and 1832-33) and the Testa di Ponte di Sant'Erasmo, it constituted the key nucleus of the series of works in defense of the whole area of ​​the island and with it the entrance to the port of Lido.

The name "Massimiliana" derives from the inventor of this unusual type of fort: Archduke Maximilian Giuseppe of Austria - Este (1782-1863), third son of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria - Este, governor of Lombardy and Duke of Modena, which withdrew to the island of Sant'Erasmo in 1848 during one of the worst moments of the Italian Risorgimento wars.

On the Venetian island, there is the only remaining example in Italy of a Maximilian tower, an interpretation of the ancient Martello Towers built in England in the nineteenth century to defend the English Channel.

The tower was used as an anti-aircraft battery during the Second World War and occupied by German troops after 1943. At the end of the war in April 1945, it was blown up by the fleeing occupants who, fortunately, only partially damaged it. It became the property of the State, was given in concession to the Municipality of Venice which assigned it to the "Parco della Laguna" Institution. From 1 September 2016, with Resolution no. 40 of 29 July 2016, the Parco della Laguna Venezia institution was dissolved.

In 2004, the building underwent a philological restoration carried out by the Venezia Nuova Consortium, as part of the Program Agreement signed between the Municipality of Venice, the Veneto Region and the Water Authority. The architectural structure of the time was respected by inserting totally removable structures that allow daily use. The pertinent land, entrances, embankments and other military defense artifacts from later periods have also been arranged. Today it is used as an exhibition, museum and association space.

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