The construction of the church began in 1485, on the site of an ancient oratory dedicated to San Rocco (Saint Roch). The adjoining monastery was built around the same time, where a community of Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga was established in 1486.
Around 1530, the church was extended towards the east and a new facade was built.
In December 1670, the Carmelites of San Zaccaria of Venice replaced the Canons Regular of San Giorgio in Alga, and remained there until 1806, when, after the French returned to Vicenza, were relocated to the Convent of San Domenico. In 1810, the religious complex was suppressed by the Napoleonic decrees, and all the assets were confiscated by the Municipality.
Later, the monastery was transformed into an orphanage, and remained so until the end of the 1980s.
Today, in addition to religious functions, the church hosts concerts by the polyphonic Choir of the Schola San Rocco.
The facade of the church dates back to 1530, when the building was extended towards the east. The facade is smooth and sober, plastered in pink with inserts in white and colored marbles. It is surmounted by a triangular pediment with a simple entablature, and divided vertically by four pilasters decorated with red marble.
The facade has two high arched windows on the sides, each between two pilasters, and a small rose window. The 15th-century portal houses an 18th-century wooden door.
The bell-tower, completed after 1525, is built in exposed brick, and decorated with pilasters. It houses eight bells.
Inside, the church has a single nave, covered with a pavilion vault with side lunettes. The presbytery has a cross vault and a pentagonal apse. The only chapel, dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, opens on the right wall of the nave.
The interior of the church is characterized by a large women’s gallery (matroneum), an elevated choir used by the Canons, supported by a double row of three round arches with four columns and four semi-columns.
On the right wall of the nave, there is the first altar, which houses the altarpiece of Pentecost, attributed to the Veronese painter Giovanni Battista Zelotti. In the second altar from the right, there is the altarpiece of the Adoration of the Magi from 1559 by the Brescian painter Agostino Galeazzi.
The wooden altar dedicated to the Madonna houses, in a niche surrounded by 17th-century canvases, the statue of the Virgin and Child, attributed to the 15th-century artist Antonino da Venezia.
In the presbitery, behind the main altar, there is a painting depicting San Rocco among the plague victims, a copy of 1912 of the original painted between 1568 and 1575 by Jacopo da Ponte and transferred to Milan with the suppression of religious orders. On the altar, there is a precious tabernacle, in the shape of a polygonal temple in gold and black marble, created in 1655 by Alessandro Biego.
In the first altar from the left, there is the altarpiece with The Invention of the True Cross, attributed to the Veronese Giovanni Battista Zelotti. In the second altar on the left, there is the altarpiece with the Beheading of Saint Catherine, by an uncertain author.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Church of San Rocco is located about 1 kilometer away from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is located in Via Giampaolo Bonollo, about 250 meters away, on the bus Lines 3, 5, 6, 7, 16 and 20.
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