Treviso (Venetian: Trevizo, French: Trévise, Latin: Tarvisium) is a city in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of Treviso province and the municipality has 81,627 inhabitants (2007): some 3.000 live within the Venetian walls (le Mura) or in the historical and monumental center, some 80,000 live in the urban center proper, while the city hinterland has a population of approximately 170,000. It is the home of the headquarters of designer clothing company Benetton, and of the major appliance maker DeLonghi.
For some scholars, the ancient city of Tarvisium
derived its name from a settlement of the Celtic
tribe of the Taurusci. Others have attributed the name instead to the Indo European
, meaning "bull".
Tarvisium, then a city of the Veneti, became a municipium in 89 BC after the Romans added Cisalpine Gaul to their dominions. Citizens were ascribed to the Roman tribe of Claudia. The city lay in proximity of the Via Postumia, which connected Opitergium to Aquileia, two major cities of Roman Venetia during Ancient and Early Medieval times. Treviso is rarely mentioned by ancient writers, although Pliny writes of the "Silis", that is the Sile River, as flowing ex montibus Tarvisanis.
During the Roman Period, Christianity was spread to Treviso. Tradition records that St. Prosdocimus, a Greek who had been ordained bishop by St. Peter, brought the Catholic Faith to Treviso and surrounding areas. By the fourth century, the Christian population grew sufficient to merit a resident bishop. The first documented was named John the Pius who began his epsicopacy in 396 AD.
Early Middle Ages
Treviso lay in the path of barbarians invading Italy. Treviso went through a demographic and economic decline similar to the rest of Italy after the fall of the Western Empire
; however, it was spared by Attila the Hun
, and thus, remained an important center during the 6th century
. According to tradition, Treviso was the birthplace of Totila
, the leader of Ostrogoths
during the Gothic Wars
. Immediately after the Gothic Wars, Treviso fell under the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna
AD when it was taken by the Lombard
, who made it as one of 36 ducal seat and established an important mint. The latter was especially important during the reign of the last Lombard king, Desiderius
, and continued to churn out coins when northern Italy was annexed to the Frankish Empire
. People from the city also played a role in the founding of Venice
Charlemagne made it the capital of a border March, i.e., the Marca Trevigiana, which lasted for several centuries.
Treviso joined the Lombard League
, and gained independence after the Peace of Constance
(1183). This lasted until the times when seignories
started to impose in northern Italy: among the various families who ruled over Treviso, the Da Romano
reigned from 1237
. Struggles between Guelph and Ghibelline
factions followed, with the first triumphant in 1283
with Gherardo III da Camino
, date after which Treviso lived a significant economical reprise which lasted until 1312
. Treviso and her satellite cities, including Castelfranco Veneto
, founded by the Trevigiani in contrapposition to Padua
, had become appetible for the neighbouring powers, including the da Carrara
. After the fall of the last Caminesi
lord, Rizzardo IV
, the Marca was the site of continuous struggles and ravages (1329-1388).
Treviso's notary and physician, Oliviero Forzetta, was an avid collector of antiquities and drawings; the collection was published in a catalog in 1369, the earliest such catalog to exist to this day.
After a Scaliger domination in 1329
, the city gave itself to the Republic of Venice
, becoming the first notable mainland possession of the Serenissima. From 1318 it was also, for a short time, the seat of a university. Venetian rule brought innumerable benefits, however, Treviso necessarily became involved in the wars of Venice. From 1381–1384, the city was captured and ruled by the duke of Austria
, and then by the Carraresi until 1388. Having returned to Venice, the city was fortified and given a massive line of (still existent) walls and ramparts: these were renewed in the following century under the direction of Fra Giocondo
, two of the gates being built by the Lombardi. The many waterways were exploited with several waterwheels which mainly powered mills for milling grain produced locally. The waterways were all navigable and "barconi" would arrive from Venice at the Port of Treviso (Porto de Fiera) pay duty and offload their merchandise and passengers along Riviera Santa Margherita. Fishermen were able to bring fresh catch every day to the Treviso fish market, which is held still today on an island connected to the rest of the city by two small bridges at either end.
French and Austrian rules
Treviso was taken in 1797 by the French under Mortier, who was made duke of Treviso. French domination lasted until the defeat of Napoleon
, after which it passed to the Austro-Hungarian Empire
. The citizens, still at heart loyal to the fallen Venetian Republic, were displeased with imperial rule and in March 1848, drove out the Austrian garrison. However, after the town was bombarded, the people were compelled to capitulate in the following June. Austrian rule continued until Treviso was annexed with the rest of Veneto
to the Kingdom of Italy
During the First World War, Treviso held a strategic position close to the Austrian front. Just north, the Battle of Vittorio Veneto
helped turn the tide of the War.
During the Second World War, an Italian concentration camp was located there and was predominately used to imprison members of the Yugoslav resistance movement and Yugoslav civilians. The camp was disbanded with the Italian capitulation in 1943. At the end of the Second World War, it suffered an Allied bombing on 7 April 1944. A large part of the medieval parts of the city center including part of the Palazzo dei Trecento (then rebuilt) were destroyed, causing the deaths of over 7,000 people.
In recent times, at least two attacks by the so-called Italian Unabomber have taken place in the city.
Treviso stands at the confluence of Botteniga
with the Sile
, 30km north of Venice and 50km east of Vicenza, 40 km north-east of Padua, 120 km south of Cortina d'Ampezzo
The city is situated some 15 km south-west the right bank of the Piave River
, on the plain between the Gulf of Venice
and the Alps
- The Late Romanesque-Early Gothic church of San Francesco, built by the Franciscan community in 1231-1270. Used by Napoleonic troops as a stable, it was reopened in 1928. The interior has a single nave with five chapels. On the left wall is a Romanesque-Byzantine fresco portraying St. Christopher (later 13th century). The Grand Chapel has a painting of the Four Evangelists, by a pupil of Tommaso da Modena, to whom is instead directly attributed a fresco of Madonna with Child and Seven Saints (1350) in the first left chapel. The successive chapel has instead a fresco with Madonna and Four Saints from 1351 by one Master from Feltre. The church, among the others, houses the tombs of Pietro Alighieri, son of Dante, and Francesca Petrarca, daughter of the poet Francesco.
- The Loggia dei Cavalieri, an example of Treviso's Romanesque influenced by Byzantine forms. It was built under the podestà Andrea da Perugia (1276) as a place for meetings, talks and games, although reserved only to the higher classes.
- Piazza dei Signori (Lords' Square), with the Palazzo di Podestà (later 15th century).
- Church of San Nicolò, a mix of 13th century Venetian Romanesque and French Gothic elements. The interior has a nave and two aisles, with five apsed chapels. It houses important frescoes by Tommaso da Modena, depicting St. Romuald, St. Agnes and the Redemptor and St. Jerome in His Study. Also the Glorious Mysteries of Santo Peranda can be seen. Noteworthy is also the fresco of St. Christopher in the eastern area of the church, which is the most ancient depiction of glass in Europe.
- The Duomo (Cathedral), dedicated to St. Peter. It was once a small church built in the Late Roman era, to which later were added a crypt and the Chapels of the Santissimo and the Malchiostro (1520). After the numerous later restorations, only the gate remains of the originary Roman edifice. The interior houses works by Il Pordenone and Titian among the others. The edifice has seven domes, five over the nave and two closing the chapels.
- Piazza Rinaldi. It is the seat of three palaces of the Rinald family, the first built in the 12th century after their flee from Frederick Barbarossa. The second, with unusual ogival arches in the loggia of the first floor, is from the 15th century. The third was added in the 18th century.
- Ponte di Pria (Stone Bridge), at the confluence of the Canal Grande and the Buranelli Channels.
- Monte di pietà and the Cappella dei Rettori. The Monte di Pietà was founded to house Jewish moneylenders. At the second floor is the Cappella dei Rettori, a lay hall for meetings, with frescoes by Pozzoserrato.
Parks and gardens
Treviso is home to several notable Italian sport teams, thanks to the presence of the Benetton family, who owns and sponsors:
The local football team, Treviso F.B.C. 1993, played for the first time in the Italian Serie A in 2005. Its home stadium is the Omobono Tenni.
Treviso is a popular stop on the professional cyclo-cross racing circuit and will serve as the site of the 2008 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.
In Pop Culture
Treviso is one of the main settings in John Grisham's best selling novel titled "The Broker."