Vicenza (Italian: [viˈtʃɛntsa] (listen); Venetian: Vicensa [viˈtʃeŋsa]) is a city in northeastern Italy. It is in the Veneto region at the northern base of the Monte Berico, where it straddles the Bacchiglione River. Vicenza is approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) west of Venice and 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Milan.
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. With the Palladian Villas of the Veneto in the surrounding area, and his renowned Teatro Olimpico (Olympic Theater), the "city of Palladio" has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
In December 2008, Vicenza had an estimated population of 115,927 and a metropolitan area of 270 000. 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, in large part due to its textile and steel industries, which employ tens of thousands. Additionally, about one fifth of the country's gold and jewelry is made in Vicenza, greatly contributing to the city's economy. Another important sector is the engineering/computer components industry (Federico Faggin, the microprocessor's co-inventor, was born in Vicenza).
|Città di Vicenza|
A collage of Vicenza showing: the Villa Capra "La Rotonda", the classical temple in the Parco Querini, a panorama of the city from the Monte Berico, the Piazza dei Signori and the Renaissance Basilica Palladiana.
Location of Vicenza
Location of Vicenza in Italy
|Province||Province of Vicenza (VI)|
|• Mayor||Francesco Rucco (Centre-right)|
|• Total||80 km2 (30 sq mi)|
|Elevation||39 m (128 ft)|
(30 June 2017)
|• Density||1,400/km2 (3,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Patron saint||Madonna of Monte Berico|
|Saint day||September 8|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
Piazza dei Signori
|Part of||City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto|
|Criteria||Cultural: i, ii|
|Inscription||1994 (18th Session)|
Vicentia was settled by the Italic Euganei tribe and then by the Paleo-Veneti tribe in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. The Romans allied themselves with the Paleo-Veneti in their fight against the Celtic tribes that populated north-western Italy. The Roman presence in the area grew exponentially over time and the Paleo-Veneti (whose culture mirrored Etruscan and Greek values more so than Celtic ones) were gradually assimilated. In 157 BC, the city was a de facto Roman centre and was given the name of Vicetia or Vincentia, meaning "victorious".
The citizens of Vicetia received Roman citizenship and were inscribed into the Roman tribe Romilia in 49 BC. The city was known for its agriculture, brickworks, marble quarry, and wool industry and had some importance as a way-station on the important road from Mediolanum (Milan) to Aquileia, near Tergeste (Trieste), but it was overshadowed by its neighbor Patavium (Padua). Little survives of the Roman city, but three of the bridges across the Bacchiglione 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 AD, before being conquered by the Byzantine Empire soon after. It was also an important Lombard city and then a Frankish center. Numerous Benedictine monasteries were built in the Vicenza area, beginning in the 6th century.
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 from Bassano 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, Treviso and Verona. Three years later the Vicentines entrusted the protection of the city to Padua, 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 Verona, who fortified it against the Visconti of Milan.
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, which before Palladio's passage, was arguably the most downtrodden and esthetically lacking city of the Veneto.
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 Napoleon's personal Kingdom of Italy for general Caulaincourt, also imperial Grand-Écuyer.
After 1814, Vicenza passed to the Austrian Empire. In 1848, however, the populace rose against Austria, more violently than in any other Italian centre apart from Milan and Brescia (the city would receive the highest award for military valour for the courage displayed by revolutionaries in this period). As a part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, it was annexed to Italy after the Third War of Italian independence.
Vicenza's area was a location of major combat in both World War I (on the Asiago plateau) and World War II (a focal center of the Italian resistance), and it was the most damaged city in Veneto by Allied bombings, including many of its monuments; the civil victims were over 2,000. The end of World War II was followed by a period of depression, caused by the devastation during the two world wars. In the 1960s, the whole central part of Veneto, witnessed a strong economic development caused by the emergence of small and medium family businesses, ranging in a vast array of products (that often emerged illegally) that paved the way for what would be known as the "miracolo del nord-est" ("miracle of the northeast"). In the following years, the economic development grew vertiginously. Huge industrial areas sprouted around the city, massive and disorganized urbanization and employment of foreign immigrants increased.
Vicenza is home to the US Army post Caserma Ederle (Camp Ederle), also known as the U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza. In 1965, Caserma Ederle became the headquarters of the Southern European Task Force, which includes the 173d Airborne Brigade. In January 2006, the European Gendarmerie Force was inaugurated in Vicenza.
|Climate data for Vicenza (1971–2000, extremes 1951–2008)|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.9
|Average high °C (°F)||7.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−1
|Record low °C (°F)||−20
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||76.5
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||7.0||5.0||6.4||9.5||10.0||9.3||6.8||6.7||6.1||7.5||7.1||6.4||87.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||81||77||73||74||72||73||72||73||74||78||80||82||76|
|Source: Servizio Meteorologico (humidity 1961–1990)|
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% of the population, compared to pensioners, who number 21.60%. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06% (minors) and 19.94% (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%, while Italy as a whole grew by 3.85%. The current birth rate of Vicenza is 9.16 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.
In 2010, 83.5% of the population was Italian. From 1876 to 1976 it has been calculated that over 1,000,000 people from the province of Vicenza have emigrated, with more than 3,000,000 people of Vicentino descent living around the world (most common migrational currents included Brazil, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland) escaping the devastation left by poverty, war and sickness. Today, almost 100,000 Vicenza citizens live and work abroad. Today, the city has morphed from a land of emigration to a land of immigration. The largest immigrant group comes from the United States (about 9,000 people). Other ethnic minorities comes from other European nations (the largest being Serbia, Romania, and Moldova), South Asian (the largest being Bangladesh and Pakistan), sub-saharan Africa, and North Africa (largest is from Morocco). The city is predominantly Roman Catholic, but due to immigration, it now has some Orthodox Christian, Muslim and Sikh followers.
In 1994 UNESCO 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".
Vicenza is home to twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio. Famous examples include:
Some of the main historical churches:
The surrounding country is predominantly agricultural. Major products are wine, wheat, corn, olive oil ( in the Barbarano area ) and cherries and asparagus are a particularity of Bassano. 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.
Massive industrial areas surround the city and extend extensively in the western and eastern hinterland, with numerous steel and textile factories located in the Montecchio Maggiore, Chiampo and Sovizzo area in the west and Camisano Vicentino and Torri di Quartesolo in the east, areas characterised by a disorganised and extensive cementifaction.
Elitè sectors are the jewelry and clothing factories. Important vicentino clothing firms include: Diesel, Pal Zileri, Marzotto, Bottega Veneta, Marlboro Classics etc. The Gold Exposition is world-famous and it takes place in Vicenza twice a year (January and September).
Other industries worthy of mention are the woollen and silk, pottery, tanneries, and musical instruments. The headquarters of the bicycle component manufacturer Campagnolo and the protective wear for sports manufacturer Dainese are located here.
Vicenza is home to Rangers Rugby Vicenza, A rugby union team who compete in Serie A2.
Vicenza's cuisine reflects its humble, agricultural past. Simple, hearty meals made with fresh local ingredients that reflect the province's geographical diversity.
Unlike Venetian cuisine where fish reigns supreme, game meat, cheeses and vegetables take center stage accompanied by polenta, soft from the stove or day-old sliced and grilled over the fireplace embers, better yet cooked in a pan under the spit where it lightly fries in meat drippings to create a crunchy golden outer crust.
Vicenza is known for its simple dishes, and often famous cheeses, fruits, ingredients and wines, such as sopressa Vicentina, Asiago cheese, Marostica cherries, Nanto truffles, Bassano asparagus and Breganze Cabernet wine.
The inhabitants of Vicenza are jokingly referred to by other Italians as mangiagatti, or "cat eaters". Purportedly, Vicentinos turned to cats for sustenance during times of famine, such as during World War II.
Vicenza is twinned with: