Vercelli, Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy
The capital city of its province, the town lies in the Po Plain, along the shores of the Sesia river, midway between Milan and Turin. An important art city in Piedmont, it was one of the 80 stages of the Sigeric itinerary, which later came to be known as the Via Francigena connecting Canterbury to Rome.
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- Altitude: 130 m a.s.l
- Surface area: 79 sq km
- Population: about 44,000 inhabitants
- Population Density: 558 inhabitants per sq km
- Zip/postal code: 13100
- Phone Area Code: 0161
- Patron Saint: St. Eusebio, celebrated on 1st August
- Frazioni & Localities: Bivio Sesia, Brarola, Carengo, Cascine Strà, Larizzate, Montonero
- GPS Coordinates: 45°19'N 8°25'E
- Official website of the Comune of Vercelli.
Inhabited in pre-Roman times by the Libici, a Ligurian tribe was known as Vercelum and became a Roman municipium as Vercellae. After the fall of the ROman empire was first under the Lombards and later included in the Duchy of Ivrea. An independent commune since 1120, Vercelli joined the Lombard leagues. During the 13th century it was occupied by the Della Torre of Milan, then in 1328 by the Marquess of Monferrato, who in 1334 recognized the authority of the Viscount of Milan. In 1427 it passed to the dukes of Savoy, then in 1499 and again in 1553 it was occupied by the French, and in 1616 and 1678 by the Spaniards. Since 1704 it shared with the rest of Piedmont the destiny of the Savoy domains.
What to see
- The Basilica di Sant'Andrea, a masterpiece of the Gothic-Romanesque style in northern Italy, with a fine lunette ascribed to Benedetto Antelami representing the martyrdom of Sant'Andrew in Patras; the Basilica was founded in 1219 by Cardinal Guala Biccheri, who acted as a pacifier in the dispute between John Lackland and his barons, and to reward him for his diplomatic ability King John's son, Henry III, donated him the fiefdom of Chesterton, whose church resembles the cross plan of Sant'Andrea in Vercelli.
- The medieval Torre dell'Angelo, in the Piazza Cavour
- The art museums Camillo Leone and Francesco Borgogna (visit the official website