In this chapter we discuss one of the most important religious buildings of the entire province of Vicenza and of Italy as a whole, the Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico.
The Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico is located not far from the historic center of Vicenza. Reconstructed by Carlo Borella between 1688 and 1703, it is characterized by three symmetrical baroque façades, decorated by 42 statues of saints and three bas-reliefs above the portals, all works by Orazio Marinali and, from a fourth façade, where there is the primitive Gothic oratory of 1428.
The story tells that during a pestilence, an old woman who came there every day to pray, saw the Madonna twice and told her that the Virgin had instructed her to order the Vicenza’s people the construction just in that place of a church, because only in this way the citizens would have obtained the end of the scourge.
The old woman, not heard after the first appearance, succeeded after the second to convince the fellow citizens who, later, built a small church in only three months. Enlarged in 1476 by Lorenzo da Bologna who added the choir was flanked, in 1578, to a new temple by Palladio, knocked down to make room for the current basilica. Opposite the sanctuary stands the Vittoria Square with a wide balcony over the whole city and its historic center.
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