Vangadizza, Abbey of

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Former benedictine monastery, situated 15 miles from Rovigo, Italy, on the right bank of the River Adige, in the commune of Badia Polesine (pop. 12,000) to which it has given its name (Badia = abbey), in the province and Diocese of Rovigo. The church and monastery are mentioned in diplomas of Berengar II, King of Italy, and Ad-albert (961), and in some charters (990s) of Hugh, Marquis of Tuscany, who gave it considerable endowments. Popes and emperors granted the abbey great privileges and large estates in the districts of Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, and Bologna. In 1213 it passed from the Benedictines to the camaldolese who set up a school there and made it so famous that the abbot of Vangadizza held the third place after the abbot-general in the order's general councils. It declined from its primitive splendor through the laxity of the monks, and in 1435 Pope Eugene IV transferred it in commendam (see commendation) under a prelate of the secular clergy who administered the property and provided for the monk's expenses. It was suppressed by governmental decree on April 25, 1810. Only the ruins of the outer walls of the abbey church remain, but there are still the fine Lady Chapel with valuable 16th-century stuccoes and frescoes, and the 13th-century bell tower. The monastery cloister, built soon after the first church (c. 1000) and restored at different periods, is in excellent condition.

The origin of the name Vangadizza is uncertain. It is believed that there was a spade ("vanga") in the abbey coat of arms to indicate the work of land reclamation carried out by the monks in the Polestine district. There is an extant seal showing a spade between the letters A (Abbatia) and V (Vangadizza).

Bibliography: g. bronziero, Storia delle origini e condizioni de' luoghi principali del Polesine (Venice 1747). f. r. a. giuriati, De coenobio Vangaticiensi dissertatio epistolaris (Ferrara 1758). g. b. mittarelli and a. costadoni, Annales camaldulenses, 9 v. (Venice 175573). a. e. baruffaldi, Badia Polesine, v.3 La fine dell'abbazia della Vangadizza (Padua 1906). p. f. kehr, Regesta Pontificum Romanorum. Italia Pontificia, 8 v. (Berlin 190635) 5:193197. l. h. cottineau, Répertoire topobibliographique des abbayes et prieurés, 2 v. (Mâcon 193539) 2:3294.

[s. olivieri]