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Veneto - Places to visit - Vicenza

This town is situated 40 metres above sea level at the foot of the Berici mountains, at the confluence of the Retrone and the Bacchiglione rivers on a flat fertile part of the upper Venetian plain.

Vicenza in Veneto

Probably of Venetian origin, the town became a Roman municipium in 49 BC. with the name of `Vicetia', sharing in the fortunes of the Empire. After the Barbarian invasions, it came under the Lombards and Franks. Subsequently (11th-12th century) it became a free municipality forming part of the Verona League and the Lombard League against Barbarossa.

In the 13th and 14th centuries it came under various rulers: first Ezzelino da Romano, then the Carraresi, Scaligeri and Visconti until in 1404, it was conquered by Venice, sharing its fortunes until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797. Following the Napoleonic period and Austrian rule it was united with the Kingdom of Italy in 1866.

Monuments: many of these remain from the 16th century, the town's age of splendour. The Basilica Palladiana, considered Palladio's masterpiece, the Loggia del Capitanio, Monte di Piet, Palazzo Chiericati, Teatro Olimpico (Palladio's last work), several monumental buildings (Porto Fontana, Porto-Breganze, Casarotti, Da Schio and the Casa del Palladio, attributed to the artist belong to this period).

From other periods, but interesting nonetheless, are the Duomo (14th-16th century, Gothic-Renaissance with a polyptych by Veneziano) and the Basilica di Monte Berico (17th-early 18th century, paintings by Veronese).

As regards the economy, Vicenza's traditional industries are textiles (cotton and wool mills, woollen garment factories), paper and gold jewelry. The town is also an active commercial centre with many markets and fairs. There is a considerable tourist movement, together with associated activities.

Vicenza in Veneto

Events: Vicenza Trades Fair during which several specialist events are held-Regaloitalia and Vicenzaoro (gold jewelry exhibition); Classical performances at Teatro Olimpico.

Famous People: G. Giorgio Trissino (poet, 1478-1550), Antonio Pigafetta (explorer, 1485-1534), Giacomo Zanella (poet, 1820-1888), Antonio Fogazzaro (novelist, 1842-1911), Guido Piovene (writer, 1907-1974).

Cultural Institutions: Accademia Olimpica (founded in 1555), Civic library, Seminary library, Civic Museum (with rich art gallery), International Centre of Palladian Studies, Museum of the Risorgimento and the Resistance.

In the Province: Schio (wool mills), Valdagno (wool mills), Bassano del Grappa (Museo del ponte degli alpini), Recoaro (holiday resort and spa), Thiene, Marostica (Live chess game), Roana (Institute of Cimbri culture), Malo (Museo della civilt rurale del Vicentino).

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