The Fortress of Fortezza was built between 1573-1580 by the Venetians in order to protect the residents from the Turkish threat. It was designed so as to provide adequate living conditions of the population. That is the reason why it contained within the walls of the barracks, church, hospital, warehouse and aqueduct.
The Venetian Fortress of Fortezza is situated on the hill of Palaeokastro, in the west of the present city. The Hill Paleocastro was chosen since it has endless views from land and sea. Today it is preserved intact and the restoration continues in some parts. It has a star-shaped figure, three gates and six bastions and the total length is 1307 m.
The Fortress of Fortezza remains the most remarkable monument of the city of Rethymno. Every summer at Theatre Erophile, which is situated inside the Castle, takes place the famous Rethymnon Renaissance Festival. Theatrical performances, music, dance and visual arts events, highlight the Cretan and European Renaissance. Additionally, dance, exhibitions, lectures and film complement the activities of the festival.
The Fortress of Fortezza can be reached either by crossing the narrow streets of the Old Town of Rethymno, or from the regional road that starts behind the old Venetian harbor. The visitor can cross the road that passes in front of tavernas and cafes for 200-300 meters to a small parking area he will encounter on his left. At this point he will find himself in front of the stairs that climb up to the Fortress. Fortezza is located right above. It is impossible to miss it as it is visible from almost every part of the city!