Vercelli is a city
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

of about 47,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli
Province of Vercelli
Vercelli is a province in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Its capital is Vercelli., it has an area of 2,088 km², and a total population of 176,829...

, Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

, northern Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. 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
Sesia may refer to:* Sesia River, in northwest Italy* Sesia , a district during the First French Empire, named after the river* Sesia, a genus of moths* The Valsesia, the river’s valley...

 in the plain of the river Po between Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 and Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. It is an important centre for the cultivation of rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, and is surrounded by paddy fields, which are flooded in summer. The climate is typical of the Po Valley with cold, foggy winters (0.4 °C (33 °F) in January) and oppressive heat during the summer months (23.45 °C (74 °F) in July). Rainfall is most prevalent during the spring and autumn; thunderstorms are common in the summer.

The world's first university funded by public money was established in Vercelli in 1228.
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.


Vercellae (Vercelum) was the capital of the Libici or Lebecili, a Ligurian
The Ligures were an ancient people who gave their name to Liguria, a region of north-western Italy.-Classical sources:...

 tribe; it became an important municipium
Municipium , the prototype of English municipality, was the Latin term for a town or city. Etymologically the municipium was a social contract between municipes, the "duty holders," or citizens of the town. The duties, or munera, were a communal obligation assumed by the municipes in exchange for...

, near which Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

 defeated the Cimbri
The Cimbri were a tribe from Northern Europe, who, together with the Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. The Cimbri were probably Germanic, though some believe them to be of Celtic origin...

 and the Teutones in the Battle of Vercellae
Battle of Vercellae
The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, in 101 BC was the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic Cimbri tribe near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul....

 nearby in 101 BCE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...


Imperial magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 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, 3.1)). After the Lombard
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 invasion it belonged to the Duchy of Ivrea. From 885 it was under the jurisdiction of the prince-bishop
A Prince-Bishop is a bishop who is a territorial Prince of the Church on account of one or more secular principalities, usually pre-existent titles of nobility held concurrently with their inherent clerical office...

, 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
University of Pavia
The University of Pavia is a university located in Pavia, Lombardy, Italy. It was founded in 1361 and is organized in 9 Faculties.-History:...

 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.

During the troubles of the 13th century it fell into the power of the Della Torre
Della Torre
The Della Torre were an Italian noble family who rose to prominence in Lombardy during the 12th-14th centuries, until they held the seigniory of Milan before being ousted by the Visconti....

 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 latter party being expelled several times, thus 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
Facino Cane
thumb|Facino Cane.Facino Cane da Casale , born Bonifacio Cane, was an Italian condottiero.-Biography:Cane was born in Casale Monferrato to a noble family....

 (1402), profiting by the strife between Giovanni Maria and Filippo Maria Visconti
Filippo Maria Visconti
Filippo Maria Visconti was ruler of Milan from 1412 to 1447.-Biography:Filippo Maria Visconti, who had become nominal ruler of Pavia in 1402, succeeded his assassinated brother Gian Maria Visconti as Duke of Milan in 1412. They were the sons of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Gian Maria's predecessor, by...

, 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 it 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 this it shared the fortunes of Savoy. In 1821 Vercelli rose in favour of the Constitution.

Main sights

Vercelli is home to numerous relics of the Roman period, e.g. an amphitheatre, hippodrome, sarcophagi, and 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.

Vercelli Cathedral
Vercelli Cathedral
Vercelli Cathedral is the principal church of the city of Vercelli in Piedmont, Italy, and the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Vercelli. It is dedicated to Saint Eusebius of Vercelli, the first bishop.- History :...

, formerly adorned with precious pillars and mosaics, was erected and enlarged by Saint Eusebius of Vercelli
Eusebius of Vercelli
Eusebius of Vercelli was a bishop and saint in Italy. Along with Athanasius, he affirmed the divinity of Jesus against Arianism.-Biography:...

, 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
Gaudenzio Ferrari
Gaudenzio Ferrari was a Northern Italian painter and sculptor of the Renaissance.-Biography:Gaudenzio was born at Valduggia in the Valsesia in the Duchy of Milan. Valduggia is now in the Province of Vercelli in Piedmont. He is said to have first learned the art of painting at Vercelli from...

, Gerolamo Giovenone
Gerolamo Giovenone
Gerolamo Giovenone was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance period, active mainly in Milan. Also spelled Girolamo, he was born in Vercelli. He was the teacher of the painter Gaudenzio Ferrari and possibly also taught il Sodoma. In Milan, he painted the Resurrection for the church of the...

 and Lanino, who were natives of Vercelli. The cathedral library holds the famous Vercelli Book
Vercelli Book
The Vercelli Book is one of the oldest of the four Old English Poetic Codices. It is an anthology of Old English prose and verse that dates back to the late 10th century...

—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
Basilica di Sant'Andrea
The Basilica di Sant'Andrea is the church of a monastery in Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy, founded in 1219 by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri and completed in 1227...

 was erected by Cardinal Guala Bicchieri
Guala Bicchieri
Guala Bicchieri was an Italian diplomat and papal official, and Cardinal. He was the papal legate in England from 1216 to 1218, and took a prominent role in the politics of England during King John’s last years and Henry III’s early minority....

 in 1219. Together with the old Cistercian monastery
Monastery denotes the building, or complex of buildings, that houses a room reserved for prayer as well as the domestic quarters and workplace of monastics, whether monks or nuns, and whether living in community or alone .Monasteries may vary greatly in size – a small dwelling accommodating only...

, it is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 monuments in Italy.

The Moorish Revival
Moorish Revival
Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish is one of the exotic revival architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Romanticist fascination with all things oriental...

 1878 Vercelli Synagogue
Vercelli Synagogue
The Vercelli Synagogue is a synagogue in Vercelli, Italy.The synagogue, located at Via Foà 70, was built in 1878. It was designed by Marco Treves, an architect born in Vercelli who also designed the Great Synagogue of Florence....

 is at Via Foà 70.

Among other noteworthy churches is Santa Maria Maggiore.

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.

The archives of the metropolitan chapter contain valuable manuscripts, including an evangelarium of the fourth century, the "Novels" of Justinian, the Leges Langobardorum (Laws of the Lombards - Germanic); Étienne Baluze
Étienne Baluze
Étienne Baluze was a French scholar, also known as Stephanus Baluzius.Born in Tulle, he was educated at his native town and took minor orders. As secretary to Pierre de Marca, archbishop of Toulouse, he won his appreciation of him, and at his death Marca left him all his papers...

's Capitularia regum Francorum (Acts of the Franks) (1677 version of medieval manuscripts); 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 to John Gersen. The civil archives are not less important, and contain documents dating from 882. The extensive seminary contains a large library.

Vercelli is seat of the Viotti International Music Competition
Viotti International Music Competition
The Viotti International Music Competition , named after the Italian composer and violinist Gian Battista Viotti , is held every year in Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy...



In 2007, there were 44,475 people residing in Vercelli, of whom 47.3% were male and 52.7% were female. Minors (children ages 18 and younger) totalled 14.41 percent of the population compared to pensioners who number 25.83 percent. This compares with the Italian average of 18.06 percent (minors) and 19.94 percent (pensioners). The average age of Vercelli resident is 47 compared to the Italian average of 42. In the five years between 2002 and 2007, the population of Vercelli declined by 1.31 percent, while Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 as a whole grew by 3.56 percent. The current birth rate of Vercelli is 8.69 births per 1,000 inhabitants compared to the Italian average of 9.45 births.

As of 2006, 92.38% of the population was Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

. The largest foreign group came from other parts of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 (namely Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, and Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

): 3.48%, followed by North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

: 2.21%, and sub-saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

: 0.64%. Approximately 1 in 6 babies born in Vercelli has a least one foreign parent.

Famous people

  • Bishop Atto II of Vercelli
    Atto of Vercelli
    Atto was a Frankish monk and theologian who became Bishop of Vercelli , then in the Kingdom of Italy. Atto was the son of a certain viscount Aldegarius...

  • William of Montevergine
    William of Montevergine
    William of Montevergine, or William of Vercelli, was a Catholic hermit and the founder of the Congregation of Monte Vergine, or "Williamites".-Life:...

     (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
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

    Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

  • Luigi Galleani
    Luigi Galleani
    Luigi Galleani was an Italian anarchist active in the United States from 1901 to 1919, viewed by historians as an anarchist communist and an insurrectionary anarchist. He is best known for his enthusiastic advocacy of "propaganda of the deed", i.e...

     (1861–1931), anarchist.
  • Pietro Ferraris
    Pietro Ferraris
    Pietro Ferraris was an Italian football player.Ferraris was born in Vercelli, Piedmont.He was a striker for Ambrosiana-Inter and eventual world champions Italy at the 1938 FIFA World Cup, he scored a goal in their first round match against Norway. He also played for Pro Vercelli, Napoli, Torino...

     (1912–1991), footballer
  • Vittorio Mero
    Vittorio Mero
    Vittorio Mero was an Italian football player.-Career:Born at Vercelli, he started his career with an amateur team, Belvedere, in 1990-1991, and made his debut at the professional level at the age of 17 for A.S. Casale Calcio. The following year Mero signed for Parma F.C., playing with the...

     (1974–2002), footballer
  • Silvio Piola
    Silvio Piola
    Silvio Piola was an Italian footballer from Robbio Lomellina, province of Pavia. He is known as a highly prominent figure in the history of Italian football due to several records he set. Piola won the 1938 FIFA World Cup with Italy, scoring two goals in the final.Piola is third in the all-time...

  • Angelo Gilardino
    Angelo Gilardino
    Angelo Gilardino is an Italian composer, guitarist and musicologist.During his concert career, from 1958 to 1981, he premiered hundreds of new works for the guitar. He taught at the Liceo Musicale G. B. Viotti in Vercelli from 1965 to 1981, and held a professorship at the Antonio Vivaldi...

     (born 1941), composer and classical guitarist.
  • Anita Caprioli
    Anita Caprioli
    Anita Caprioli is an Italian theatre and film actress.-Biography:Anita Caprioli was born at Vercelli, Piedmont.She made her debut in London in 1995 with Andrea Brooks, in an adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Mistress of the Inn, and in the following year she played in Il Berretto a Sonagli.In 1996...

     (born 1973), theatre and film actress
  • Fiorenza Cossotto
    Fiorenza Cossotto
    Fiorenza Cossotto is an Italian mezzo soprano. She is considered by many to be one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the 20th century.-Life and career:...

     (born 1935), opera singer
  • Angelo Agostini
    Angelo Agostini
    Angelo Agostini was an illustrator, journalist and founder of several publications, and although born in Italy, is considered the first Brazilian cartoonist.-Biography:...

     (1843–1910), illustrator and journalist.


The typical dish is rice with beans, called panissa, the tartufata (cake) and the bicciolani a type of biscuits. The typical wine is Gattinara
Gattinara (wine)
Gattinara is a red Italian wine with Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita status produced from Nebbiolo grapes grown within the boundaries of the commune of Gattinara which is located in the hills in the north of the province of Vercelli, northwest of Novara in the Piedmont region...

 DOCG, a classic red wine of Piedmont made principally from the nebbiolo grape (known locally as spanna) from the comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

of Gattinara
Gattinara is a comune in the Province of Vercelli in the Italian region Piedmont, located about northeast of Turin and about north of Vercelli...

, where there is archaeological evidence of vines being grown in Roman times.


Unione Sportiva Pro Vercelli that was one of the most successful football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 clubs in Italy in the early 20th century, winning the national championship seven times between 1908 and 1922, on the summer 2010 has not been admitted to the league for the heavy debt.

To continue the glorious history of the club the Pro Belvedere Vercelli has changed its name to the F.C. Pro Vercelli 1892.Today it competes in the
Lega Pro Seconda Divisione.

Further reading

  • Vercelli is a short article in English on the history and archaeology of the town from, the site of the Gruppo Archeologico Vercellese.
  • the Divine Comedy in three languages: vercellese (the local dialect of Piedmontese), English and Italian

Sources and references
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.