Vicenza / SurroundingsGallery
'Little Manchester': that was how Schio was already known in the 18th century, owing to the textile industry which arose there under Venetian rule.
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Its far-reaching history goes back thousands of years: in fact traces of habitation have been found in the area dating back to 1000 B.C. And yet the destiny of Schledum, to use its medieval Latin name, lay in the modern era.
After various rules by the Della Scala and Visconti clans from the 13th to 15th centuries it was under Venice that the city began to develop its industrial spirit, thanks to the first wool production; today Schio can easily boast of its position as originator of industrialisation in the Veneto, providing many archaeological examples of the sector.
In the 18th century, English textile experts were brought here under the augis of Venetian ambassador Niccolò Tron, while at the end of the following century Francesco Rossi and his son Alessandro set up the wool mill Lanerossi. Alessandro was particularly interested in the workers’ needs and adopted an ‘interclass’ system, founding Nuova Schio: a type of ideal city based on Enlightenment principles providing a mutual aid society, and schools and recreation areas for the workers.
Schio’s Duomo was restructured by the vicenzan architect Antonio Caregaro Negrin who was also responsible for the Nuovo Schio project. The church houses, among other works, a painting by Palma il Vecchio. Another church worthy of notice is that of San Francesco, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries, replete with Gothic and Renaissance elements, frecoes and a choir from the 1500s. Those interested in industrial archaeology should visit the 18th century Conte woolmill, the Rossi nursery school (built in the 19th century for the workers’ children), the Jaquard Theatre, Villino Rossi, and the 'Worker’s City'. Also not to be missed is a guided tour of the open-air Museum of the Archaeological Institute.
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