Rovigo / Surroundings

Badia Polesine

Badia Polesine

Badia Polesine links its name and its essence with the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria della Vangadizza which arose there in the 10th century under order of Almerigo d’Este, Marchese of Tuscany. It was he who was responsible for the construction of a church for the Benedictine order, which later became Camaldolensian after the reformation of S. Romualdo.

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Badia was alternately a possession of both the Este family and the Republic of Venice until 1482, when it became definitively a part of the Republic. From the beginning of the 15th century - when the town underwent a notable economic boom owing to land reclamation and building works paid for by Venice - the monastery went into a gradual decline which culminated in the arrival of the French in 1797.

It became the possession of a French citizen and supplier to the army, the Earl d’Espagnac, and was subsequently closed down. When he returned to France the owner entrusted it to a local administrator who had it demolished. Fortunately the 15th century lateral chapel of the Virgin was saved from destruction, with its frescoes by Filippo Zaniberti (1585-1636), and also the belltower. The Abbey of Santa Maria della Vangadizza was only returned to Italy in 1985, aquired by the Comunal Administration. Today it is possible to visit the cloister, chapel and the belltower.

Other religious monuments of particular importance in the area include the Oratorio della Beata Vergine della Salute (17th century) and the 18th century Chiesa Arcipretale. Among the civic buildings may be mentioned the palazzo del Comune, restructured in 1600, the Palazzo degli Estensi (the Dukes of Este’s Palace) dating from the 15th century, and the elegant Teatro Sociale, rich in decoration, gilding and intaglio, which justify its appellation 'Little Fenice' or 'the golden box'.

Today Badia is an industrial centre with a healthy agricultural production.