Municipalities

Vercelli

Vercelli stands in a strategic position which rendered it an obligatory point of passage, in as much that it crossed a part of the Via Francigena .

The road passes in front of the abbey of Saint Andrew, symbol of the city of Vercelli, an excellent example of a skilful merging of gothic and Romanic elements. It was erected between 1219 and 1227 on the request of cardinal Guala Bicchieri. Inside you can admire a precious wooden choir and the capitular hall, which is one of the most beautiful in Italy. A little ahead you can find the Salone Dugentesco (N.d.t. Hall of the Thirteenth century), once a "hospital” for the pilgrims.

Near here stands the Cathedral of Saint Eusebius, where it is possible to admire a beautiful crucifix in laminated silver and gold, the biggest of the four existing crucifixes of the epoch of Otto. The Seminar faces Piazza S. Eusebio: the internal courtyard and façade were designed by Filippo Juvarra. The prestigious centre of the Archiepiscopal Palace, in the nearby Piazza d’Angennes, contains both the Museum of the Treasure of the Dome, where an important and precious collection of sacred vases, urns of saints and objects of cults is kept, and the Capitular Library, where is conserved a precious manuscript code: the "Vercelli Book”, one of the most famous manuscripts in the world, dating back to the X centuryand written entirelyin old Anglo - Saxon language.

Along via Duomo there are a number of buildings belonging to important Vercelli families and at the beginning of it stands Santa Maria Maggiore (the first Christian church built in Vercelli, demolished and reconstructed in its present shape in the second half of the 1700). A little further, you can see the Castle of Visconti, today a court. Near via Foa you can find the splendid Synagogue,the Church of Saint Julian, which has precious fifteenth century frescoes, and part of Bicchieri House.

In via Borgogna there is the homonymous Borgogna Museum (, the second art gallery of Piedmont. Next to the neoclassic museum building is the Church of Saint Agnes in Saint Francesco, an impressive gothic structure whosefaçade has been re-done in the baroque epoch.

InPiazza Palazzo Vecchio, also called "piazza dei pesci” (N.d.T. fishes square),there are the old Broletto and the suggestive Town Hall Tower dating back to the XIII century. Here you can go in the old roman "forum”, the heart of the city: the elegant and harmonious Piazza Cavour, dominated by the thirteenth century Torre dell’Angeloand surrounded by airy arcades from the following epochs.

Corso Libertà is the elegant road of shops which connects Piazza Cugnolio to Piazza Pajetta, the road is filled with interesting secular and religious buildings, like the baroque church of Saint Clare built by Bernardino Vittone, the Church of the Holy Saviour, Casa Centoris, famous for the elegance of its fourteenth century courtyard in a style which reminds Bramante works, or the church of Saint Lorenzo in an elegant sixteenth century style.

In via San Cristoforo there is a splendid Church of Saint Cristoforo, an invaluable work of art, in which there is the circle of frescoes done by hand by Gaudenzio Ferrari, an elegant balustrade done on drawings by Juvarra, a wooden crucifix and eightMayerle canvases. Turning into via Vallotti you can reach the Piazza del Municpio, where you can admire the church of Saint Paul (founded in the XIII century and restructured during the XVII century) containing two paintings of Lanino and a Theory of the Saints dating back to the XIV century.

The Church of Saint Michele has a fresco of Lanino, a wooden polychrome crucifix and a marquetry. A few steps away you can find the Leone Museum, where most of the finds of the area of Vercelli are kept.

Along Via Ferraris there are other shops which offer typical products and particular and unusual objects, you can find the original Church of Saint Bernard, known also as Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Invalids: the sacred building is divided into two parts, the oldest of which dates back to the middle of the XII century, whilst the most recent one was built at the end of the eighteen hundreds in a neo-Romanic style. On the opposite site of the church stands the new ARCA exhibition centre, which was inaugurated in 2007, is located inside the historical San Marco Church and houses high standard cultural initiatives. When there are exhibitions inside the church an interesting cycle of frescoes can be admired, brought to light thanks to important works of restoration.

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