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Vercelli verˈtʃɛlli  listen  Vërsèj in Piedmontese, also known as 'The City', is a city and comune of 46552 inhabitants 1-1-2017 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 city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river Po between Milan and Turin It is an important centre for the cultivation of rice, and is surrounded by rice paddies, which are flooded in the summer The climate is typical of the Po Valley with cold, foggy winters 04 °C 33 °F in January and oppressive heat during the summer months 2345 °C 74 °F in July Rainfall is most prevalent during the spring and autumn; thunderstorms are common in the summer

The languages spoken in Vercelli are Italian and Piedmontese; the variety of Piedmontese native to the city is called Varsleis

The world's first university funded by public money was established in Vercelli in 1228 the seventh university founded in Italy, but was closed in 1372 Today it has a university of literature and philosophy as a part of the Università del Piemonte Orientale and a satellite campus of the Politecnico di Torino


  • 1 History
  • 2 Main sights
  • 3 Demographics
  • 4 Museums
  • 5 Famous people
  • 6 Cuisine
  • 7 Sport
  • 8 Twin towns
  • 9 See also
  • 10 References
  • 11 Further reading
  • 12 Sources and external links


Vercellae Vercelum was the capital of the Libici or Lebecili, a Ligurian tribe; it became an important municipium, near which Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri and the Teutones in the Battle of Vercellae in 101 BC

The imperial magister militum Flavius Stilicho annihilated the Goths there 500 years later It was half ruined in St Jerome's time olim potens, nunc raro habitatore semiruta 1, 31 After the Lombard invasion it belonged to the Duchy of Ivrea From 885 it was under the jurisdiction of the prince-bishop, who was a Count of the Empire

It became an independent commune in 1120, and joined the first and second Lombard leagues Its statutes are among the most interesting of those of the medieval republics In 1197 they abolished the servitude of the glebe In 1228 the University of Pavia was transferred to Vercelli, where it remained till the fourteenth century, but without gaining much prominence; only a university school of law has been maintained

In 1307, Fra Dolcino, the leader of the Dulcinian was tortured and burned at the stake

During the troubles of the 13th century it fell into the power of the Della Torre of Milan 1263, of the Marquesses of Monferrato 1277, who appointed Matteo I Visconti captain 1290–1299 The Tizzoni Ghibellines and Avogadri Guelphs disputed the city from 1301 to 1334 The Guelphs were expelled several times, enabling the Marquess of Monferrato to take Vercelli 1328, which voluntarily placed itself under the Viscount of Milan in 1334 In 1373, Bishop Giovanni Fieschi expelled the Visconti, but Matteo reconquered the city Facino Cane 1402, profiting by the strife between Giovanni Maria and Filippo Maria Visconti, took Vercelli, but was driven out by Theodore II of Montferrat 1404, from whom the city passed to the dukes of Savoy 1427

In 1499 and 1553 Vercelli was captured by the French, and in 1616 and 1678 by the Spaniards In 1704 it sustained an energetic siege by the French, who failed to destroy the fortress, after which it shared the fortunes of Savoy In 1821 Vercelli rose in favour of the Constitution

Main sightsedit

Vercelli is home to numerous relics of the Roman period, eg an amphitheatre, hippodrome, sarcophagi, and many important inscriptions, some of which are Christian

There are seven noteworthy towers in the town, most important are the Torre dell’Angelo, which rears up over the old market square, and the Torre di Città in Via Gioberti

St Andrew’s Basilica

Vercelli Cathedral, formerly adorned with precious pillars and mosaics, was erected and enlarged by Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, to whom it was dedicated after his death It was remodeled as of the ninth century, and radically changed in the eighteenth by Count Alfieri Like the other churches in the city, it contains valuable paintings, especially those of Gaudenzio Ferrari, Gerolamo Giovenone and Bernardino Lanino, who were natives of Vercelli

The cathedral's Capitulary Library contains valuable manuscripts Its religious texts include the Codex Vercellensis, an evangelarium of the fourth century; 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 to John Gersen Its secular texts include the Novels of Justinian; and the 8th-century Leges Langobardorum Laws of the Lombards - Germanic Finally it contains the famous Vercelli Book — an Old English manuscript which includes the celebrated alliterative poem The Dream of the Rood The civil archives are not less important, and contain documents dating from 882

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 in the city is the Santa Maria Maggiore

Vercelli's synagogue, an example of Moorish Revival architecture, is located at Via Foà 70 and the city's Jewish cemetery at Corso Randaccio 241 On 23 November 2013, after what was believed to be an antisemitic act, two swastikas were found sprayed on its walls2

The Institute of the Beaux-Arts contains paintings by Vercellese artists

Ancient charitable institutions continue, such as the hospital founded by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri 1224, which has an annual revenue of more than 600,000 lire $117,000; and the hospices for orphan girls 1553 and for boys 1542, and mendicant homes

Vercelli is the seat of the Viotti International Music Competition


In 2007, 44,475 people were recorded as residing in Vercelli, of whom 473% were male and 527% were female Minors children aged 18 and younger totaled 1441% of the population and pensioners 2583%; the overall national averages are, respectively, 1806% and 1994% The average age of a Vercelli resident was 47 five years more than the national average of 42 and the birth rate was 869 births per 1,000 inhabitants national average 945 births per 1,000 inhabitants In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Vercelli declined by 131% while the national population grew by 356%3

As of 2006update, 9238% of the population was Italian The remainder were Albanian and Romanian 348%, North African 221% and Sub-Saharan 064% Approximately 1 in 6 babies born in Vercelli has a least one foreign parent4


  • Museo Camillo Leone

Famous peopleedit

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, the Mannerist painter also known as "Il Sodoma"
  • Luigi Galleani 1861–1931, anarchist
  • Pietro Ferraris 1912–1991, footballer
  • Vittorio Mero 1974–2002, footballer
  • Silvio Piola 1913–1996, footballer
  • Angelo Gilardino born 1941, composer and classical guitarist
  • Guido Michelone born 1954, writer, musicologist, and critic
  • Anita Caprioli born 1973, theatre and film actress
  • Fiorenza Cossotto born 1935, opera singer
  • Angelo Agostini 1843–1910, illustrator and journalist
  • Lucia Contini Anselmi 1876-after 1913, pianist and composer


The typical dish is rice with beans, called panissa made with Arborio, Baldo or Maratelli rice, the tartufata cake and the bicciolani a type of biscuits 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


Unione Sportiva Pro Vercelli that was one of the most successful football clubs in Italy in the early 20th century, winning the national championship seven times between 1908 and 1922 However, in the summer 2010 it was not admitted to the league due to heavy debt

AS Pro Belvedere Vercelli to continue the glorious history of the club, has changed its name to the FC Pro Vercelli 1892 Currently it plays in the Serie B

Twin townsedit

  • Arles, France
  • Tortosa, Spain

See alsoedit

  • Communes of the Province of Vercelli


  1. ^ "Jewish Cemeteries" Chabad Travel Guide Retrieved 12 January 2013 
  2. ^ "Vercelli, svastiche sul cimitero ebraico L'incursione è stata compiuta nella notte" L'UNIONE SARDAit Retrieved 12 January 2013 
  3. ^ http://demoistatit/bil2002/indexhtml
  4. ^ http://demoistatit/str2006/indexhtml

Further readingedit

  • Vercelli is a short article in English on the history and archaeology of the town from archeovercelliit, the site of the Gruppo Archeologico Vercellese
  • dumsinandicom presents the Divine Comedy in English, Italian and vercellese, the local Piedmontese dialect

Sources and external linksedit

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed 1913 "article name needed" Catholic Encyclopedia New York: Robert Appleton 
    • Vercelli
  • Macadam, Alta 1997 Blue Guide Northern Italy: from the Alps to Bologna London: A & C Black ISBN 0-7136-4294-7
  • Museo Borgogna
  • Museo del Tesoro del Duomo
  • Museo Camillo Leone
  • Vini Italiani DOCG: Gattinara DOCG
  • Riso Maratelli

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