The city of Vicenza is the capital of the Veneto region in Northern Italy, a region famous, above all, for its rice dishes. Situated at the junction of the Bacchiglione and Retrone rivers, Vicenza is a principal commercial center of the north. The town is renowned for its churches and villas, particularly those designed by the great Andrea Palladio.
Settled in the 8th century BCE, the city of Vicenza was first prosperous under Roman occupation. The schematic city plan of the Roman settlement Vicetia is fairly well documented; remains of an amphitheater survive to this day.
Vicenza didn’t reach the height of its influence until it was under Venetian rule from the 15th to the 18th century, the era of Andrea Palladio (1508-80). Palladio was a Renaissance architect characteristically influenced by Roman and Greek architecture. Though his ideas were influential throughout the Western world (he published his theories in a treatise called Quattro Libri dell’Architettura, the Four Books of Architecture), all of the buildings he designed are located in northern Italy. A total of twenty-six buildings or parts of buildings in Vicenza are attributed to the great architect. In 1994, the “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto” were named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. His Rotonda situated on a hilltop outside the city center, is a marvel of Renaissance architecture.
Due largely to the port at Cioggia and an extensive network of rivers in the area, fish features prominently in the cuisine of the Veneto region. Baccala (salted cod) is widely used in this area. Its two best-known preparations being baccala mantecato, served cold with olive oil, and baccala alla vicentina, served cold with anchovies and onions.