Kotor St. Joseph Fortress

Original name

St. Joseph Fortress

Geographic Area

Kotor, Montenegro

Reference Project

Integreted survey strategies for the documentation of Venetian fortification in the eastern Mediterranean basin

Site description

The defense of the city of Kotor was divided into three macro-groups: urban walls, defense of the mountainous side, and high walls. In particular, the high city walls are part of an articulated defensive system that winds up the mountain behind the urban center. The imposing fortification dates back to the Venetian period. Over time, under the Austro-Hungarian period, it underwent numerous renovations and extensions to the structures, carried out to update the defensive strategies. The Casamatta on the western side is part of these extensions. Crowning the defensive path, 280 meters above sea level, is Fort San Giovanni which dominates the Bay of Cattaro and also guaranteed control over the valley behind it. The fortifications, the old city, and the surrounding natural environment were included in the list of world heritage sites in 1979, within the UNESCO site of the natural and historical-cultural region of the Bay of Kotor. The fortified city of Kotor, since 2017, is also included in the UNESCO site "Venetian defense works between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: State from Land-State from Western Sea".


Promoted by
The project was developed following the winning of a tender from the Veneto Region set up for the conservation and enhancement of Venetian culture abroad.

Sandro Parrinello

Proposing Subject
UNIPV, University of Pavia
UNIFI, University of Florence
UNIBG, University of Bergamo
UNIVR, University of Verona
UCG, University of Montenegro
Municipality of Verona

State Archives of Venice
University of Split
INFN Florence
INFN Milan

Survey Activities

Mobile Laser Scanner
Anna Dell'Amico

UAVs Photogrammetry
Francesca Picchio

Marco Morandotti, Silvia La Placa, Anna Dell'Amico

Post production Activities

2D Drawings
The drawings were created by Researchers, PhD Student and Student of the University of Pavia

Point Clouds and Models
Models and Point Clouds were created by Researchers, PhD Student and Student of the University of Pavia.

  • Gallery
  • 3D Model

Documentation Methodology

The Fortress of St. Joseph in Kotor, located about 280 m above sea level, is connected to the old city by a staircase belonging to the fortification path of the high walls. On the fortified path, at different altitudes, there are terraces and minor structures. Fast survey technologies were used to document the entire system in the short time available. The survey was designed to operate separately on the fortress first, and on the connection to the city subsequently.

For the acquisition of the Fortress, concentric closed paths were carried out from the outside to the inside. The breakdown of the paths took place based on the different walking heights present in the plan. Operating with this methodology, in addition to the documentation of the rooms that can be visited in the fort, many control points have been acquired along the rocky wall, for the connection of the architectural work to its access path and the city. The survey operated with STENCIL KAARTA mobile laser instrumentation counts a total of 64 scans carried out in about 2 hours of field activity.

To document the fort even in the upper portions and obtain a database enriched with color data, UAV systems were used. The acquisitions by drones at the territorial scale were carried out with flight plans and points of interest methodology. For the St. Joseph Fortress, preliminary inspections were carried out to understand if the roofs of the buildings were accessible, if the presence of trees or electrical systems could have compromised the feasibility or safety of the flight conditions. The various individually generated subsystems have been aligned with each other on the basis of homologous points identified in the architectural corners of the buildings or artificial structures of the landscape.


Picchio, F., De Marco, R., Dell’Amico, A., Doria, E., Galasso, F., La Placa, S., Miceli, A. (2020). Procedure di analisi e modellazione urbana per la gestione dei centri storici. Betlemme, Solikamsk, Cattaro e Santo Domingo. Paesaggio Urbano, 2, 103 – 115. ResearchGate

Parrinello, S., La Placa, S. (2020). Ricostruire la memoria dello Stato da Mar attraverso un percorso di conoscenza, documentazione e disegno/Rebuilding the Memory of the State da Mar through a path of knowledge, documentation and drawing. In Arena A., Arena M., Brandolino R.G., Colistra D., Ginex G., Mediati D., Nucifora S., Raffa P. (a cura di). Connettere. Un disegno per annodare e tessere. Atti del 42° Convegno Internazionale dei Docenti delle Discipline della Rappresentazione/Connecting. Drawing for weaving relationships. Proceedings of the 42th International Conference of Representation Disciplines Teachers. 2533-2550. ResearchGate

Parrinello, S., Picchio, F. (a cura di) (2019). Dalmazia e Montenegro. Le fortificazioni Venete nel bacino del Mediterraneo Orientale. Procedure per la conoscenza e la Documentazione Digitale del Patrimonio Storico Fortificato. Pavia: Pavia University Press