Vicenza is known as ‘Palladio’s town’ as he realized several monuments here and it is one of the most relevant art sites not only in the Veneto. Just thanks to the works by the great architect, the Unesco has included Vicenza in the list of the World Mankind’s Heritage and, as a matter of fact, it is the destination of cultural tourism with flows of people coming from all over Italy and from abroad too.
Already known as ancient Vicetia during the Roman Age, the most ancient match about its name dates back to 135 B.C.
The epoch of the communes then witnessed the infighting between the Guelfs and the Ghibellines, with alternating outcomes, until Vicenza was conquered in 1311 by the Veronese Scaligeri rulers. This family rebuilt the city walls around a greater area as a protection against the invasion of the Visconti family, who, nonetheless, finally prevailed in the conquest of the town and they continued to rule the city until 1404. Fro m 1404 to 1797 Vicenza put itself spontaneously under the protection of the Republic of Venice (as other towns of the Veneto and the Lombardia did) and it became part of the Serenissima Republic of the Veneto.
During the four centuries which followed, characterized by peace and wealth, arts reached exceptional levels and the town economy flourished.
The Sixteenth century is related to the great late Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, already previously mentioned, who bequeathed Vicenza and the whole world a unique architectural heritage. Among his main works, the Basilica Palladiana situated in the central Piazza dei Signori, the Olympic Theatre, Villa Capra, known as ‘The Rotonda’, placed just outside the urban area. The Palladian tradition was continued by Vincenzo Scamozzi and by other architects till the Eighteenth century.
In the Nineteenth century, after Napoleon’s fall, the town fell under Austrian dominion and later became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia and it was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866. If during the First World War battles mostly took place just the province of Vicenza, the Second World War injured the town centre too, as it was severely damaged by the Allies’ air raids.