Sacile is a town of 19,379 inhabitants in the province of Pordenone, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of north-east Italy. The historic centre is located on two islands of the river Livenza. The town is known as the ‘Garden of the Serenissima’ after the many palaces constructed for the nobility of the Most Serene Republic of Venice which line the banks of the river.
Sacile developed in the seventh century as a strong-point on the route from Veneto to Friuli. Whether the islands upon which it was built are natural or man-made is not clear. A cathedral and a castle were built on the larger of the two, while the smaller had the port and was the place for traders. The town became part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia on its creation in 1077; in 1190 the Patriarch conferred on it city rights. Sacile was the first city in Friuli to have a Communal Statute. The city was besieged on a number of occasions by troops of Venice and Treviso. In 1420 Sacile, along with the rest of Friuli, was annexed by the Republic of Venice. Under Venetian rule the river trade expanded and many noble families built palaces on the banks of the Livenza. The fall of the Republic in 1797 caused an economic crisis in Sacile. On April 15, 1809 French troops were defeated by the Austrians in the Battle of Sacile which took place in the nearby hamlet of Camolli. In 1815, under the terms of the Congress of Vienna, Sacile became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. The coming of the railway in 1855 did much to restore the economic position of Sacile. In 1866 Sacile was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy and saw the beginnings of industrial activity. During the First and Second World Wars the town was repeatedly bombarded on account of the strategic importance of the Venezia–Udine railway. The earthquake of 18 October 1936 caused great damage to the town’s buildings and to its ancient city walls.