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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Vicenza

VICENZA, a town of Italy, capital of the province of Vicenza, lies at the northern base of the Monti Berici, on both sides of the Bacchiglione, immediately below its confluence with the Retrone, and 42 miles by rail to the west of Venice. It is surrounded by somewhat dilapidated walls, about 3 miles in circumference, and entered by six gates. Though many of the streets are narrow and irregular, the town has a number of fine public buildings, many of them the work of Palladio (q.v.). Among these are the town-hall, otherwise known as the Basilica, one of the finest works of the Renaissance period, of which Palladio himself said that it might stand comparison with the similar work of antiquity. The prefecture and the Barbarano and Chieregati Palaces are also his work; in the last-named the civic museum is housed. The Olympic theatre is also noteworthy. The cathedral, which is Gothic, dating mainly from the 13th century, consists of a nave with eight chapels on each side; it contains examples of the Montagnas and of Lorenzo da Venezia. Several of the other churches contain noteworthy paintings: thus the Romano-Gothic church of San Lorenzo has Montagnas, S. Corona Montagnas and a G. Bellini, and S. Stephano one of the most important works of Palma Vecchio. The principal square contains two columns, dating from the Venetian period, and a tall Gothic campanile. Of the Palladian villas in the neighbourhood La Rotonda or Villa Palladiana, 1 miles to the south-east, deserves special mention. Vicenza is the see of a bishop, and contains two gymnasia, a seminary, an academy, a public library, a botanic garden, and various hospitals. Some remains of antiquity, including ruins of a theatre and an aqueduct, have been preserved. The most important manufacture is that of silk, which employs a large proportion of the inhabitants. Great numbers of mulberry trees are grown in the neighbourhood. Woollen and linen cloth, leather, earthenware, paper, and articles in gold and silver are also made in Vicenza, and a considerable trade in these articles, as well as in corn and wine, is carried on. The population of the town in 1881 was 24,331, or, including the suburbs, 27,694.


Vicenza is the Vicentia or Vicetia of the Romans, noticed by Strabo as one of the minor towns of Venetia. It continued to be a municipal town of some importance till the fall of the Western empire, and suffered severely in the invasion of Attila, by whom it was laid waste. It was for some time during the Middle Ages an independent republic, but was subdued by the Venetians in 1405. Towards the end of the 15th century it became the seat of a school of painting, of which the principal representatives were, besides Bartolomeo Montagna, its founder, Giovanni Speranza and Bene detto Montagna. Palladio (151880) was a native of Vicenza.