The Church of St. Mary of Mount Berico is a minor basilica standing at the top of a hill which overlooks the city of Vicenza.
According to the legend, the Blessed Virgin appeared on the hill twice to a peasant worker named Vincenza Pasini in 1426 and 1428. At this time in the Veneto, the people and economy had been suffering from a terrible plague for years. The Madonna promised that if the people of Vicenza built a church on the top of the hill she would rid them of the plague. The people kept their promise and the church was built in 3 months.
The original church later became a sanctuary. The original basilica has been restored repeatedly during the centuries, sometimes with famous architects such as Palladio, Piovene and Miglioranza. All these changes are still visible today.
The statue of the Virgin Mary was sculpted by Nicolò da Venezia in 1430, two years after the second apparition.References:
The eight towns in south-eastern Sicily, including Ragusa, were all rebuilt after 1693 on or beside towns existing at the time of the earthquake which took place in that year. They represent a considerable collective undertaking, successfully carried out at a high level of architectural and artistic achievement. Keeping within the late Baroque style of the day, they also depict distinctive innovations in town planning and urban building. Together with seven other cities in the Val di Noto, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1693 Ragusa was devastated by a huge earthquake, which killed some 5,000 inhabitants. Following this catastrophe the city was largely rebuilt, and many Baroque buildings from this time remain in the city. Most of the population moved to a new settlement in the former district of Patro, calling this new municipality 'Ragusa Superiore' (Upper Ragusa) and the ancient city 'Ragusa Inferiore' (Lower Ragusa). The two cities remained separated until 1926, when they were fused together to become a provincial capital in 1927.