Friday, August 17, 2007
Vercelli (Varséj in Piedmontese) is a commune and city of about 50,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC.
The town is situated in the Pianura Padana, between Milan and Turin. It is an important centre for the cultivation of rice, and is surrounded by paddy fields, which are flooded in summer.
In Vercelli the world's first University funded by public money was established in 1228. Today Vercelli has a University of Literature and Philosophy as a part of the Università del Piemonte Orientale (or East Piedmont University) and a satellite campus of the Politecnico di Torino.
Vercelli is home to numerous relics of the Roman period, e.g. an amphitheatre, hippodrome, sarcophagi, many important inscriptions, some of which are Christian.
There are two noteworthy towers in the town: the Torre dell'Angelo which rears up over the old market square and the Torre di Città in Via Gioberti.
The Cathedral, formerly adorned with precious pillars and mosaics, was erected and enlarged by St Eusebius of Vercelli, to whom it was dedicated after his death. It was remodelled in the ninth century, and radically changed in the sixteenth by Count Alfieri. Like the other churches in the city it contains valuable paintings, especially those of Gaudenzio Ferrari, Gerolamo Giovenone and Lanino, who were natives of Vercelli. The cathedral library holds the famous Vercelli Book—an Old English manuscript which includes the celebrated alliterative poem The Dream of the Rood, the 8th century Laws of the Lombards and other early manuscripts.
The Basilica di Sant'Andrea was erected by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri in 1219: together with the old Cistercian monastery, it is one of the most beautiful and best preserved Romanesque monuments in Italy.
Among other noteworthy churches is Santa Maria Maggiore.
There is an Institute of the Beaux-Arts, containing paintings by Vercellese artists.
There are old charitable institutions, like the hospital founded by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri (1224), which has an annual revenue of more than 600,000 lire ($117,000); the hospices for orphan girls (1553) and for boys (1542) and mendicant homes.
The archives of the metropolitan chapter contain valuable manuscripts including an evangelarium of the fourth century, the "Novels" of Justinian, the "Leges Langobardorum", the "Capitulare regum Francorum", also hagiographical manuscripts, not all of which have been critically examined, and a very old copy of the "Imitation of Christ", which is relied upon as an argument for attributing the authorship of the work to John Gersen. The civil archives are not less important, and contain documents dating from 882. The extensive seminary contains a large library.
The Museo Borgogna has an important collection of paintings, including examples of the work of Titian and Jan Brueghel the Elder as well as that of Piedmontese painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Museo Camillo Leone holds a rich collection of objects of archaeological and historic interest and of decorative art.
See also: Category:People from Vercelli
Bishop Atto II of Vercelli
William of Montevergine (1085–1142) a wanderer, ascetic and founder of a number of monastic houses.
Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (1477–1549?), also known as Il Sodoma, an Italian Mannerist painter.
Luigi Galleani (1861–1931), anarchist.
Pietro Ferraris (1912–1991), footballer
Vittorio Mero (1974–2002), footballer.
Angelo Gilardino (born 1941), composer and classical guitarist.
Anita Caprioli (born 1973), theatre and film actress Natives of Vercelli
The typical dish is rice with beans, called panissa. The typical wine is Gattinara DOCG, a classic red wine of Piedmont made principally from the nebbiolo grape (known locally as spanna) from the comune of Gattinara, where there is archaeological evidence of vines being grown in Roman times.
vercelli.net has a range of articles, in Italian, on the history, architecture, gastronomy, etc, of Vercelli.
Vercelli is a short article in English on the history and archaeology of the town from archeovercelli.it, the site of the Gruppo Archeologico Vercellese.
dumsinandi.com the Divine Comedy in three languages: vercellese (the local dialect of Piedmontese), English and Italian
Posted by iamyrfans at 9:46 AM