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Map of Santamaura Santa Maura (Lefkadas)

Key dates:
1362 - 1477 Duchy of Santa Maura (Leucada).
1477 - 1684 Part of the Ottoman Empire.
1500 - 1501 Temporary occupation by Venice.
1684 - 1797 Venetian possession.
1714 - 1716 Temporary occupation by the Ottomans.
1797 Occupied by France.

The lagoon of Santa Maura

The northern tip of the island of Santa Maura (today Lefkada) is situated very close to the mainland, with only a narrow channel cutting the long strip of sand which surrounds this part of the island forming a large lagoon.

Western side
Fortress of Santa Maura - western side

From the Diary of Charles Bush Hearn: Unmarried Charles Bush Hearn and 8­month pregnant Rosa Antoniou Kassimati arrive on Santa Maura Island known today as Lefkada Island, June 25, 1849.
"Dear Diary,
Today we came to the famous 500 year-old fortress, Santa Maura. Its bulky and mighty walls dominate the entrance to Lefkada Island. A lagoon surrounds the fortress. These waters are rich in plant life as well as native and migratory birds. Behind the fortress, beyond the lagoon, lays the major town of the island, Levkas. The strong walls of the fortress are earthquake proof. They have withstood the tremors over the past five centuries resulting from fortification techniques of ancient times. There are three sides to the fort with seven gun positions which are placed at seven points where the walls jut out. There are special rooms called "ammunition magazines" where ammunition is stored. The fortress is livable too. There is a model city within: houses, schools, offices and a hospital. Underground there are tanks, called "cisterns," for storing rainwater. During the past 39 years of the British Protectorate, all facilities have been modernized."

Eastern side
Fortress of Santa Maura - eastern side

The fortress, built in the XIVth century retains memories of both Turks and Venetians. In particular there are some cannons, where the name of the manufacturer (Camozzi in Bergamo) can still be read.

Interior and cannons
Detail of the interior and of the cannons

The seizing of Santa Maura in 1716 was one of the few victories Venice reported in the otherwise disastrous second war of Morea.

The seizing of Santa Maura
Engraving showing the battle of Santa Maura

Introductory page on the Venetian Fortresses
Corfù (Kerkyra)
Preveza and Azio (Aktion)
Vonizza (Vonitsa)
Lepanto (Nafpaktos)
Castel di Morea (Rio), Castel di Rumelia (Antirio) and Patrasso (Patra)
Cefalonia (Kephallonia)
Asso (Assos)
Zante (Zachintos)
Castel Tornese (Hlemoutsi) and Glarenza
Navarino (Pilo) and Calamata
Modon (Methoni) and Corone (Koroni)
Atene (Athens)
Corinto (Korinthos)
Argo (Argos)
Napoli di Romania (Nafplio)
Malvasia (Monemvassia)
Cerigo (Kythera)
Negroponte (Chalki)
Castelrosso (Karistos)
Tino (Tinos)
Egina (Aegina)
Nasso (Naxos)
Milo (Milos)
Candia (Kriti)

You may refresh your knowledge of the history of Venice in the Levant by reading an abstract from the History of Venice by Thomas Salmon, published in 1754. The Italian text is accompanied by an English summary.

See my Home Page on Baroque Rome or my Home Page on Rome in the footsteps of an XVIIIth century traveller.

All images © 1999 - 2002 by Roberto Piperno. Write to