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La Rua, Vicenza
La Rua:
A City's Wheel of Fortune

Story and photos by Tom Weber

Vicenza, Italy

n September, Vicenza puts its best foot forward to honor both its patron saint, La Madonna di Monte Berico (Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Berico), and its rich civic past, with a host of religious and social events and activities that fill up the calendar of this jewel of a city in the Veneto region of Italy's northeast.

the wooden tower of La Rua at the Piazza dei Signori of Vicenza's Historic Center

One of the highlights of this very long, tradition-filled, annual celebration is the unveiling of La Rua (The Wheel) in the Piazza dei Signori of the city's Centro Storico (Historic Center) and the associated Il Giro della Rua (Tour of the Wheel) – the passing in review of a small-scale replica (La Ruetta) of the original design through cobblestone streets lined by thousands of spectators.

Dating all the way back to 1444, several decades after the Virgin Mary appeared twice in Vicenza to rid the city of the plague and be named its patron saint, La Rua is a wooden tower filled with colorful, life-like characters that are symbolic of the city's past.

In days of old, the completely wooden structure was paraded around the historic center pulled by an army of volunteers with local VIPs – mainly rich notai (notaries) – riding high above in a rotating carousel waiving at the crowds below and, no doubt, holding on for dear life. That original version of La Rua made its last lap back in 1928 in pouring rain.

Weighing in at 20 metric tons and rising 24 meters from its base, today's version of La Rua – based upon the original 15th century design by Andrea Palladio, the master Renaissance builder – showcases a small Ferris wheel-like mechanism that rotates around.

No longer paraded through the streets, La Rua of the 21st century stands idle in place throughout the month of September, on display for all to gaze up and wonder what it was like when the original wheel came to life for the very first time almost 600 years ago.

For complete information on Vicenza – the City of Palladio – visit the official Chamber of Commerce tourism website, in English.

Related Articles:
Vicenza's Arch of Steps; Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza; Monte Berico; Vicenza: The City of Palladio; Basilica Palladiana; The Little Village Atop the Hill (Castelluccio di Norcia); Norcia, Umbria; Piovene Rocchette, Italy




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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: http://www.compagniadeicammini.it/en/. Thanks for stopping by and commenting..

Tom

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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal




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