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Riva San Vitale

Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Parks
Riva San Vitale is a municipality in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland, located in the district of Mendrisio.HistoryRiva San Vitale is first mentioned in 774 as Primo Sobenno. In 1115 it was mentioned as Ripa Sancti Vitalis.The area around Riva San Vitale has probably been settled since the Neolithic. Due to the number of Roman era finds, it appears that there was a significant Roman settlement. A stele from some time before the 3rd century AD mentions that it was made for the inhabitants of vicus subinates. In 1115, the Benedictine abbey of S. Abbondio in Como owned property in Riva San Vitale. During the ten-year war between Como and Milan (1118–27) its port was an important base for the Comasker ships. Riva San Vitale was mentioned in the Charter of Como from 1335 as a burgus. In the Late Middle Ages, it lost its leading position in trade to Capolago, but still enjoyed far-reaching privileges and tax exemption. In the 15th century it was a market town for a short time.The Parish Church of St. Vitale is first mentioned in 962-966. However, the church likely dates back to the Christianization of the southern foothills of the Alps. It was rebuilt in the late Baroque style in 1756-59 and renovated in 1993-95. The Baptistery of San Giovanni is built on the foundations of a Roman building and is from the early Christian era (c. 500 AD). It was renovated in 1919-26 and again in 1953-55 and is the oldest fully preserved churches in Switzerland. The church of S. Croce was endowed by the Della Croce family and was built in 1582-91. It is one of the most important religious buildings of the late Renaissance in Switzerland.
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