Universally acclaimed as "Palladio's town", an artistic gem of a town among the most important in the Veneto, Vicenza is enchanting in the nobility of its architectural forms and the harmony of its proportions.
Of early Veneto origin, the
town was declared a Roman "Municipium" in the year 49 B.C.;
considerable traces of that time can still be seen
(the Criptoportico, mosaic floors, bridges, the Lobia
aqueduct, the Berga theatre).
Like other town in the Po Valley, Vicenza too underwent a series of invasions at the hands of the Eruli, Ostrogoths, Visigoths and later of the Longobards who chose the town as the headquarters of one of the 36 Duchies.
After the period of temporal power exerted in Vicenza by the count-bishops, the town became a free Commune in 1164; later it fell under the rule of the Da Carrara family of Padua, the La Scala family of Verona and the Visconti family of Milan, until it made the Act of Surrender to Venice (28 April 1404).
It was under the rule of the Serene Republic that Vicenza acquired that unmistakable appearance that was to earn it the name of "mainland Venice".
Occupied by the French (1796), it was handed over to the Emperor of Austria under the Treaty of Campoformio (1797).
From 1806 to 1813 Vicenza was part of the Italian Kingdom and returned to the Austrians after the fall of Bonaparte.
The people of Vicenza led a victorious uprising against Austrian rule in March 1848, proclaiming the
Provisional Government and adhering to the Veneto Republic.
The Austrian troops returned with reinforcements and attacked the town at dawn on 10 June 1848; fighting raged especially on Monte Berico for the whole day, but in the evening the townspeople surrendered. For the affairs of 1848 the town Banner was decorated with the gold medal by Victor Emmanuel II (18 November 1866) when the town was united with the Kingdom of Italy.
During the First World War the Headquarters of the First
Army was stationed in Vicenza, while the province was the
theatre of the "Strafe-Expedition" (punitive expedition)
and of epic battles on Monte Grappa, the Pasubio and the
During the second World War, after the terrible air raids, severe damage was done to the old town centre even the dome of the Basilica, the symbol of Vicenza, caught fire and collapsed.
In the immediate post-war period the damaged monuments were accurately restored; further restoration work and renovation is again in progress in the old town centre, not only in its monumental buildings but also in the minor works of architecture that compose the true face of Vicenza.