Pieve di Soligo: The pearl of “quartier del Piave”


Pieve di Soligo is the administrative centre of the town of Pieve di Soligo and the hamlets of Solighetto and Barbisano. Even though the territory was populated during the Roman period, it was during the feudal period that the village of Pieve was consolidated. Historians believe that Pieve di Soligo is one of the most ancient of the Cenedese dioceses, dating back to the ninth or tenth century, and had jurisdiction over an area spanning from the Piave to the Lierza, and from the Soligo area to the hills of Farrò.

The clear division of the inhabited centre into two separate dominions occurred in the late medieval period, resulting in separate statutes, taxes and political orders. Pieve del Contà is to the left of the river Soligo, and is so-called because it belonged to the County of Cison, the fiefdom of which the Venetian Republic invested to the Condottieri Gattamelata and Brandolino Brandolini in 1418. Pieve del Trevisan, to the right of the Soligo, was from the thirteenth century under the dominion of Treviso. The town developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the establishment of the wool and silk industries and, in the next century following urban expansion, it transformed itself from a medieval village into a modern city.

Pieve suffered enormous damage during the year of the enemy invasion (1917-18) and in 1944 during the second world war, it was in part burned in a reprisal by Nazi fascists - so much so that it went down in history as the “martyr citadel”. Always defi ned as the “Pearl of the Piave Quarter”, it is the traditional district administrative centre. It is a renowned centre which developed particularly around industry and tertiary economy, and is the socio-economic gravitational centre for the entire area. The city today presents itself with a particularly prosperous aspect, gifted with modern industrial areas and tranquil residential areas. In Pieve di Soligo, the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Saint Mary the Assumpted) (1906-1937) rises on the site of the original church from the fourteenth century. It was built as a project of the architect Domenico Rupol, a capable interpreter of the neogothic style, which here is enriched by an accurate pictorial decoration of Renaissance style. Amongst the other art works, the l’Assunzione di Maria (the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) by Francesco da Milano which dates from 1540 is worthy of esteem. In the presbytery, the modern sculpture block of the crucifixion by Giovanni Possamai stands out. The tomb of the Blessed Giuseppe Toniolo is located inside the left nave. The oratorium of Santa Maria Maddalena (Saint Mary Magdalene) from the seventeenth century is located in Pieve del Trevisan. This was the seat at one time of the homonymous confraternity, and has wooden altars dating from the late seventeenth century and an interesting painting of the Trinity and the saints which can be attributed to the methods of Pozzoserrato. Near to the cemetery, built in 1832, is located the oratory of San Martino (Saint Martin). This was mentioned in documents dating back to 1177, but was re-built in classical style in 1842. Located on the side is the quadrangular chapel of the Calvary which is the final aedicula of the Cal Santa - the route of the Via Crucis that set off from the arch Presbyterian. In the interior of the small building, the beautiful crucifix and five canvases depicting scenes from the Passion, probably dating to the late seventeenth century, stand out.

The parish church is located in the central square of Solighetto, which is also characterised by an enchanting monolithic fountain and a powerful bell tower. This is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Mary, and replaced the little medieval church of Sant’Andrea (Saint Andrew) in 1855. It was erected in neoclassical style according to the wishes of Count Gerolamo Brandolini II. A great fresco on the ceiling stands out - one of the last works of Giovanni De Min (1786-1859). This depicts the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The nineteenth century Oratorium of San Zuanet rises on the hills to the east of Solighetto in the picturesque Valle del Lierza. The re-building of the parish church of Barbisano, dedicated to Santa Caterina (Saint Catherine), was started in the year 1902 and followed a consolidated neoclassical model. Preserved in the interior are the original baptism basin from the late seventeenth century, the main altar of Paolo Possamai, a canvas by Giovanni Zanzotto, and a painting by Guido Pini depicting Saint Catherine amongst the saints Oswald and Rocco. Not far to the east of the church is the the Santa Croce oratorium. This small temple was ordered to be constructed in 1885 by the parish priest Torresan with the intention of giving a better setting for the Croce della Passione (the Cross of the Passion) which had been standing in this place for a long time.

The municipality also presents other worthy architectural constructions of notable interest. The seventeenth century Morona villa is visible from Via Marconi. It has a stone crest on the entry door and a Baroque church with a bell tower with a small wall belfry. The seventeenth century Ciasi palace is located in Via Lubin. On the opposite side of the road, there is an interesting crest of the Brandolinis which marked the border between the Cison and the Collalto jurisdictions. In Via Vaccari one can fi nd a central bridge over the Soligo river which is known as the “ponte del contenzioso” (the bridge of the contentious) because it used to mark the passage between the two hostile parts of the town - the Contà and the Trevisan. The original bridge was built in 1557, whilst the current one was inaugurated in 1906. After the bridge, one can admire the Balbi Valier centre, a residential complex belonging to the homonymous Balbi Valier family with interesting nineteenth century buildings.

Located nearby is Borgo Stolfi , the most ancient neighbourhood in Pieve. In place Vittorio Emanuele stands the nineteenth century Vaccary Palace former school and municipal building which has housed, amongst other things, the “drawing school for craftsmen” in the early twentieth century which had illustrious teachers, amongst whom were Conte, Zanzotto, Fontana and Possamai. At the start of Via Chisini, one can catch a glimpse of the Chisini-Dianotti Villa with a three-light window on its eastern side, and also another building dating from 1685 with a two-light window. Worth pointing out in Barbisano are the twentieth century Villa Titi dal Monte and the Villa Baseggio. The latter presents itself as a curious liberty-style construction. Standing out in Solighetto is the nineteenth century Brandolini villa which seat of the Town Council, amongst other things, hosts the Fabbri Foundation, the Consortium for the Preservation of Prosecco Conegliano-Valdobbiadene wine, and the Toti del Monte Musical Institute. Along the scenic route the Majo de Pradea known as “Via dei Troi” and the nearby mill remind one of the artisan activities which have been established here since the middle ages.