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Vicenza, a city in northern Italymarker, is the capital of the eponymous province in the Veneto region, at the northern base of the Monte Bericomarker, straddling the Bacchiglionemarker. Vicenza is approximately 60 km west of Venicemarker and 200 km east of Milanmarker.

Vicenza is a thriving and cosmopolitan city, with a rich history and culture, and many museums, art galleries, piazzas, villas, churches and elegant, Renaissance palazzi. The Palladian Villas of the Venetomarker, in the surrounding area, and the renowned Teatro Olimpicomarker (Olympic Theatre) have both been enlisted as UNESCOmarker World Heritage Sites since 1994.

As of December 2008, Vicenza had an estimated population of c. 115,000. Vicenza is the third-largest Italian industrial centre as measured by the value of its exports, and is one of the country's wealthiest cities, especially due to the engineering/computer components industry (Federico Faggin, the silicon chip's inventor was born in Vicenza). Also, about one third of the country's gold and jewelry industry is made in Vicenza, greatly contributing to the city's economy.


Roman age

Vicentia was settled by the Italic Euganei tribe and then by the Paleo-Veneti tribe in the third and second centuries BCE, from whom it was taken by the Gauls. The Romans conquered it from the Gauls in 157 BCE and gave the city the name of Vicetia or Vincentia, meaning "victorious".

The population of Vicentia received Roman citizenship in 49 BCE. The city had some importance as a way-station on the important road from Mediolanummarker (Milan) to Aquileiamarker, near Tergeste (Trieste), but it was overshadowed by its neighbor Pataviummarker (Paduamarker). Little survives of the Roman city, but three of the bridges across the Bacchiglionemarker and Retrone rivers are of Roman origin, and isolated arches of a Roman aqueduct exist outside the Porta Santa Croce.

During the decline of the Western Roman Empire, Heruls, Vandals, Alaric and his Visigoths, as well as the Huns laid waste to the area, but the city recovered after the Ostrogoth conquest in 489 CE. It was also an important Lombard city and then a Frankish centre. Numerous Benedictine monasteries were built in the Vicenza area, beginning in the sixth century.

Middle Ages

In 899, Vicenza was destroyed by Magyar raiders.

In 1001, Otto III handed over the government of the city to the bishop, and its communal organization had an opportunity to develop, separating soon from the episcopal authority. It took an active part in the League with Verona and, most of all, in the Lombard League (1164-1167) against Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa compelling Padua and Treviso to join: its podestà, Ezzelino II il Balbo, was captain of the league. When peace was restored, however, the old rivalry with Padua, Bassano, and other cities was renewed, besides which there were the internal factions of the Vivaresi (Ghibellines) and the Maltraversi (Guelphs).

The tyrannical Ezzelino III drove the Guelphs out of Vicenza, and caused his brother, Alberico, to be elected podestà (1230). The independent commune joined the Second Lombard League against Emperor Frederick II, and was sacked by that monarch (1237), after which it was annexed to Ezzelino's dominions. On his death the old oligarchic republic political structure was restored -a consiglio maggiore ("grand council") of four hundred members and a consiglio minore ("small council") of forty members - and it formed a league with Padua, Trevisomarker and Veronamarker. Three years later the Vicentines entrusted the protection of the city to Paduamarker, so as to safeguard republican liberty; but this protectorate (custodia) quickly became dominion, and for that reason Vicenza in 1311 submitted to the Scaligeri lords of Veronamarker, who fortified it against the Visconti of Milanmarker.

Vicenza came under rule of Venicemarker in 1404, and its subsequent history is that of Venicemarker. It was besieged by the Emperor Sigismund, and Maximilian I held possession of it in 1509 and 1516.

Modern age

Vicenza was a candidate to host the Council of Trent.

The 16th century was the time of Andrea Palladio, who left many outstanding examples of his art with palaces and villas in the city's territory.

After 1797, under Napoleonic rule, it was made a duché grand-fief (not a grand duchy, but a hereditary (extinguished in 1896), nominal duchy, a rare honor reserved for French officials) within Bonaparte's personal Kingdom of Italy for general Caulaincourt, also imperial Grand-Écuyer.

After 1814, Vicenza passed to the Austrian Empiremarker. In 1848, however, the populace rose against Austria, but it was recovered after a stubborn resistance. As a part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, it was annexed to Italy after the 3rd war of Italian independencemarker.

Vicenza's area was a location of fights in both World War I and World War II, and it was heavily damaged by Allied bombings, including many of his monuments; the civil victims were over 2,000. After the end of the latter, strong economic development made it one of the richest cities in Italy.

Vicenza is home to the United States Army post Caserma Ederlemarker (Camp Ederle), also known as the U.S.marker Army Garrison Vicenzamarker. In 1965, Caserma Ederlemarker became the headquarters for the Southern European Task Force, which includes the 173d Airborne Brigade.

In January 2006 the European Gendarmerie Force was inaugurated in Vicenza.


The surrounding country is agricultural, but there are also quarries of marble, sulphur, copper, and silver mines, and beds of lignite and kaolin; mineral springs also abound, the most famous being those of Recoaro. The city has an active and lively industrial sector, which is especially famous for jewelry and clothing factories. The Gold Exposition is world-famous and it takes place in Vicenza three times per year (January, May, September). Other industries worthy of mention are the woollen and silk, pottery, and musical instruments. The headquarters of the bicycle component manufacturer Campagnolo and the protective wear for sports manufacter Dainese the are located here.


In 2007, there were 114,268 people residing in Vicenza, located in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, of whom 47.6% were male and 52.4% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 17.17 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 21.60 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Vicenza residents is 43 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Vicenza grew by 3.72 percent, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.85 percent. The current birth rate of Vicenza is 9.16 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.

As of 2006, 87.53% of the population was Italian. The largest immigrant group comes from other European nations (the largest being Serbiamarker, Albaniamarker, and Bosniamarker): 6.28%, South Asian 1.85%, sub-saharan Africa: 1.44%, and North Africa: 1.36%. Currently one quarter babies born in Vicenza has at least one foreign parent. The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, but due to immigration now has some Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Sikh followers.
The Basilica Palladiana.
Palazzo Thiene by Palladio.
Porta Castello Tower.

Main sights

In 1994 UNESCOmarker inscribed "Vicenza, City of Palladio" on its list of World Heritage Sites. In 1996 the site was expanded to include the Palladian villas outside the core area, and accordingly renamed "City of Palladio and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto".

Palladio's works

Vicenza is home to twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio. The famous ones include:

Other sights


  • The cathedral (church of Santa Maria Annunciata), dating from early in the 11th century, and restored in the 13th, 16th, 19th and after the ruinous destruction of Word War II, possesses numerous pictures and sculptures, nearly all of them by Vicentine artists (Cittadello, Celestia, Liberimarker, Ruschi).
  • The Church of Araceli (1244), by Guarino Guarini, formerly belonged to the Clarisses, contains statues by Orazio Marinali and Cassetti, and paintings by Tiepolo.
  • The Churches of the Carmini (1372) and St. Catherine (1292), formerly belonging to the Humiliati, possess notable pictures.
  • Santa Corona (1260) was built by the Dominicans after the death of Ezzelino, and is pictured by Montagna (The Magdelene) and Bellini (Baptism of Christ); it also hosts the Valmarana chapel by Palladio.
  • Santa Croce (1179)
  • SS. Felice and Fortunato (8th century)
  • SS. Filippo and Giacomo (12th century)
  • S. Lorenzo of the Friars Minor (1280), in the Gothic style, contains the tombs of many illustrious Vicentines.
  • In the cloister of S. Maria of the Servites (1319) took place the miracles of St. Philip Benizi de Damiani.

Secular buildings

  • The Torre Bissara (clock tower) (1224-1446), 82mt, is one of the tallest buildings
  • The Biblioteca Civica Bertoliana, public library founded by Count Giovanni M. Bertolo, opened 1708.
  • Casa Pigafetta (1440), house of Antonio Pigafetta.
  • The Pinacotheca Civica houses mainly Vicentine paintings in the Palladian Palazzo Chiericatimarker.


Vicenza is home to Vicenza Calcio who currently play in Serie B. Their home is the Stadio Romeo Mentimarker.

Popular dishes

The inhabitants of Vicenza are jestly known to other Italians as magnagati 'cat eaters'. Purportedly, Vicentinos turned to cats for sustenance during times of famine, such as World War II.

Famous people from Vicenza

Twin cities


See also

External links

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