Vicenza, Italy: The Basilica Palladiana & Sanctuary of Monte Berico
Located in Northeastern Italy, Vicenza is known not so much for its religious significance but for its architecture and location. The city has a population of about 115,000 and is exceptional in much of its architecture, especially the work Andrea Palladio, who left his imprint on many buildings in Italy. In the 16th Century it was found that the building housing the municipal offices and shops in the central piazza was collapsing. A competition was held in which many architects presented plans to restore the building and Palladio won the right to re-construct the building in 1549. What made his plan unique was the addition of a new outer shell done in marble to form a loggia (similar to a portico) and not only support the crumbling structure but give it an entirely new look in the classical style. This look has now become known as the Palladian window, which earned him renown throughout the country and led to many others done in the same style. The resulting look is one of the most famous buildings in the city.
Among several beautiful churches in the city are:
The Basilica of Saints Felice and Fortunato, who were martyred under the reign of Diocletian sometime in the third Century.
The Basilica of Santa Maria di Monte Berico, built in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whoappeared twice to a local woman in the 15th Century and stopped the ravages of a plague in the city. The Blessed Mother promised to end a plague that was ravaging the country if a church was built here in her honor. There are daily Masses, Confessions and Rosary.
Traveling to Vicenza:
As noted earlier, Vicenza makes an excellent home base for day trips to such cities as Venice and Padua. There are frequent trains from Venice (about 1 hour) and Milan (taking about 2 hours). Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here.