|Città di Rho|
Rho City Hall
|Frazioni||Lucernate, Mazzo Milanese, Passirana, Terrazzano, Biringhello, Castellazzo, Pantanedo|
|• Mayor||Pietro Romano (PD)|
|• Total||22.32 km2 (8.62 sq mi)|
|Elevation||156 m (512 ft)|
|Population (January 1, 2012)|
|• Density||2,200/km2 (5,800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Victor Maurus|
|Saint day||8 May|
Rho is lapped by the river Olona and crossed by its tributaries Bozzente and Lura, nowadays partially cloaked inside the town. At the north and east of the town, there is the Strada statale 33 del Sempione, which in the past were crossing the town itself, in the current corso Europa. Rho is at the meeting point of railways linking Milan to Varese (Line S5) and Milan to Novara (Line S6).
Inside the municipality of Rho are located seven frazioni:
- Castellazzo: modest inhabited in the west part of the communal territory, close to the place where was situated a country manor house; nowadays it is located near the popular residential quarter of via Capuana
- Biringhello: small village up north-west the town, beyond the Sempione road and bordering with Barbaiana of Lainate
- Lucernate: popular southern neighbourhood, beyon the railway station, in the zone of resurgences
- Mazzo: called also Mazzo Milanese or Mazzo di Rho, densely populated eastern hamlet, close to the Fiera di Milano.
- Pantanedo: little hamlet, up east Mazzo, made just by an inhabited farm house and some industrial plants
- Passirana: town located in the north part of the municipality, close to Arese
- Terrazzano: big north-east hamlet, near the junction between A4 and A50 (tool-house of Terrazzano on the A50), it is near to Arese too
Rho is one of the most ancient towns of Lombardy, originating during the Roman era. This was confirmed by excavations associated with building and road construction in 1876, 1890 and 1917. Additional research during the 20th century showed that the town had remarkable importance during the imperial age.
The current topography can be traced to a style of organization from Roman times: for the most part the roads run parallel in east-west or north–south directions. The reference axis are the cardo (north–south, via Madonna and via Garibaldi) and the Decumano (east–west, via Matteotti and via Porta Ronca). These roads are crossing in piazza San Vittore, also nowadays in the downtown.
Further archeological research confirmed the existence in Roman age of a road connecting Milan to the Lake Maggiore, passing through Legnano and Gallarate. Along this infrastructure Rho was placed at the 10th mile, the resting point for the army then.
Based on archeological research, it has been found that Christianization of the village took place in the 4th - 5th centuries. In the piazza San Vittore an ancient cemetery and a Christian chapel has been found; in the current via Belvedere there were Capuchin graves with engravings of alfa and omega.
The barbaric invasions caused a deep economical crisis in the zone, and the power passed to Lombards and then to Franks. During the Lombard reign, the village assumed in its own topography names foundable even nowadays, Pomero for example, coming from the Latin Post Moerus, meaning out of the walls. Such origin is nevertheless not universally recognized: some texts related it to the presence in the place of several apple trees. In the same period it is conferred to Rho the appeal of Curtis, a particular form of organization in the feudal society.
Rho is first mentioned in a written document from January 9, 864 AD, a certificate of permutation by the notary Agatone, referred to the village as simply a bunch of houses under the name of Vicus Raudus, with a church entitled to Sant'Ambrogio and a rough castle. Other two documents are from 871.
Around 1000 AD the town bloomed as a free commune and in 1004 Emperor Henry II, after the victory over Lombards of king Arduin of Ivrea and its incoronation to King of Italy, soujourned here, signing some documents, according to Rodo the role of capopieve and instituting a weekly market, which takes place every Monday even nowadays. It is also instituted a Court of Justice and is digged a canal for the fields irrigation, using the waters of Olona.
It dates back to this epoch the half-legendary Giovanni da Raude, flagbringer of the Christian army during the First Crusade; he was the man hoisting the first Christian flag on the Jerusalem walls in the battle of July 15, 1099.
In 1160, Rho was razed to the ground by Frederick Barbarossa, as punishment for rebellion against the Holy Roman Empire; it was anyway rebuilt fastly. Between 1130 and 1215 are recorded nine consuls from Rho in the Milanese state, some of them belonging to the family of Capitanei de Raude, residing in Rho since 1196.
According to a document filed in the Archive of the Ospedale Maggiore of Milan, around 1300 a first hospital was built in Rho; its goods were bought by the Augustinians friars of Santa Maria del Pasquerio in Rho, in 1481.
In 1305 the noble Cressone Crivelli tried with his soldiers to take possession of Rho and Nerviano, but he was defeated by the popular reaction. Eight years later the town was anyway conquered by Milan, who killed and prisoned almost all the inhabitants.
Thanks to the water and fertile lands, in the 15th century many Milanese notables moved to Rho, building sumptuous palaces which mostly do not exist anymore. The noble presence was such that in Rho it was constituted a Universitas nobilium dicti loci de Raude. Between the 16th and 17th centuries two monasteries ere built: by Agostinians and by Capuchins (on the road to Lucernate), both destroyed in the Napoleonic invasion.
In 1511 the Landsknecht descended to Italy, commanded by Matteo Schinner, and sacked Rho. Then the Spanish domination took place and in 1539 King Charles V granted the feud to Visconti family. In 1570, in the population weakened by the Spanish oppression, a plague epidemic took place.
According to the chronicles of that time, on 24 April 1583 a painting of Pietà cried blood tears, event subsequently recognized as a miracle by the Catholic Church. Instead of the chapel where the painting was placed, a Sanctuary to the Lady of Sorrows was built, with the collaboration of several among the best artists of the region.
During the 17th century plague hit again the zone and in 1663 Rhodenses erected in the current piazza San Vittore a Croce della peste (Cross of the plague), moved beside the parish church in 1928 and moved back to its original place seventy years later.
On 10 October 1956 in the frazione Terrazzano two drifters abducted about one hundred students and three teachers of the local primary school. During the police blitz, which took place after six hours, was killed for mistake by policemen themselves Sante Zennaro, who had heroically gone there to try rescuing children.
At the beginning of 21st century, inside an area for the 90% in the territory of Rho and for the remaining part in the comune of Pero, it has been built the new exposition center of Fiera di Milano. Inaugurated in 2005, it has been projected by the architect Massimiliano Fuksas and it is constituted by eight pavilions for a total exposition surface of 345,000 squared meters indoors and 60,000 outdoors. In such area and in a close one, the event Expo 2015 will take place.
According to a theory, the name derives from the Campi Raudi where the Roman consul Caius Marius defeated the Cimbri. A different theory postulates that the city was founded by expatriates from the Greek island of Rhodes.
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