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Diocese of Vigevano
Diocese in Lombardy, Province of Pavia. The city is a great agricultural centre. As late as the middle of the nineteenth century, gold was obtained from the Ticino in the neighbourhood, but that industry has since been abandoned. The cathedral was built in 1100, rebuilt in the sixteenth century, and in the seventeenth by Bishop Caramuel Lobkowitz, 1680, himself an architect, who also contributed to the expense. The Church of S. Pietro Martiere was built, with the adjacent Dominican convent, by Filippo M. Visconti in 1445; the convent is now used for government offices and courts. Among the civil edifices is the castle, once a fortress, built by Bramante in 1492, by order of Ludovico il Moro, and now a royal palace.
The earliest notices of Vigevano date from the tenth century, when it was favoured as a residence by King Arduin for the sake of the good hunting in that vicinity. In the next period it was a Ghibelline commune, and was accordingly besieged and taken by the Milanese in 1201 and again in 1275. In 1328 it surrendered to Azzone Visconti, and thereafter shared the political fortunes of Milan. In the last years of the Visconti domination it sustained a siege by Francesco Sforza, himself a native of the city. With the Treaty of Worms (1743) it passed to the King of Sardinia. Blessed Matteo Carreiro, O.P., died at Vigevano. Until 1530 the town belonged to the Diocese of Novara and had a collegiate chapter. Francesco Sforza procured the erection of the see and provided its revenues. The first bishop was Galeazzo Pietra, succeeded by his nephew Maurizio Pietra (1552); both of these promoted the Tridentine reforms, and the work was continued by their successors. Marsilio Landriani (1594) distinguished himself in various nunciatures and founded a Barnabite college for the education of young men. Giorgio Odescalchi (1610) was a very zealous pastor; the process of his beatification has been commenced. Giovanni Caramuel Lobkowitz (1675) was an example of pastoral virtue and zeal and the author of many works, philosophical, theological, ascetical etc., though his "Theologia fundamentalis" was censured. Pier Marino Sonnani (1688), a Minorite, who enlarged the seminary, had to maintain a struggle against the spread of the doctrines of Miguel Molinos. Nicola Saverio Gamboni was intruded into the see by Napoleon in 1801. The diocese is suffragan of Vercelli. It contains 75 parishes, 180,000 souls, 250 secular and regular priests, 1 house of male religious, 1 of sisters, and 3 girls' schools. One weekly and two monthly periodicals are published.
CAPPELLETTI, Le chiese d'Italia, XIV; BIFFIGNANDI, Memorie storiche della citta e contado di Vigevano.