The historical centre of this alpine town in the gates of the Dolomites is small and intense, turn it around walking is like a journey in silent enchantment timeless, where to find the splendor today a little disused, of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. From Piazza Martiri enter in the historic centre through Porta Dojona and reach Piazza del Mercato (also known as Piazza delle Erbe) overlooked by houses and palaces, with their portals, the gothic triforiums and renaissance, the windows surrounded in stone. An unreal atmosphere will welcome you, very different from the movement that swarms the edges of the old city, in the multitude of hamlets and on the roads that connect the main town to neighboring municipalities. If you want to watch Belluno from above, with the dolomite group of the Schiara that frames it to the north, climb up on the Nevegàl hill: the view sweeps over the peaks, on the Alpago Plateau, on the Piave river that flows along the Valbelluna, with the eye that already creeps into the furrows of the mountain valleys as far south as the sea. It is not a negligible detail that in the rankings drawn up by Legambiente, between 2007 and 2010, the city was ranked first between all the Italian provincial capitals for sustainability of the urban ecosystem.
In the fifth century B.C. paleovite populations and Celtic settled in this patch of plain close to the alpine valleys. Looks like it was the Celts themselves who coined the name Belodonum, from the meaning of 'luminous high ground'. From Pliny the Elder we know that in II century B.C. allied with Rome and became municipium Roman. In medieval times Belluno experienced continuous and traumatic passages of warlike populations until, with Brass the Great One (973), became a fiefdom of the Convasive until the birth of the free commune. From the middle of the 12th century the communal freedoms will in turn give way to the lordships, with the houses of Ezzelini and Visconti that they'll do their part here, each one practicing the power with ferocity, the others with oppression cheap. Overwhelmed by the continuous wars, and their tragic side dish of famine and pestilence, in 1404 Belluno took advantage of a power vacuum and chose to hand himself over to Venice, under whose rule would flourish for almost four hundred years, until 1797, when the Napoleonic parenthesis opened. The French were joined by the Habsburgs who dominated until the sale of the Veneto to the Kingdom of Italy: it was 1866. During the first world war the mountains of Belluno were theater of bitter battles, in particular on the so-called 'dolomite front' which ran between Agordino and Ampezzano. Although the city was not on the front line, it was however at the centre of the rear, with the assistance committee civilian committed to providing subsidies to families and soldiers. An important rescue, ...which unfortunately is only conveyed to the urban area, with the countryside left to its own devices. The the balance sheet at the end of the Great War was very heavy: about five thousand people died of hunger or sickness. In the second war world, after September 8, 1943, Belluno distinguished itself as a partisan city and in 1947 she was awarded the gold medal for bravery military for the Resistance.