In the first half of the 6th century, Fridianus (Frediano), the Irish bishop of Lucca had a church built here, dedicated to Saint Vincent, a martyr from Zaragoza, Spain. When Frediano was buried in the church, it was renamed Ss Frediano and Vincenzo.
The church acquired its present shape as a typical Roman basilica between 1112 and 1147. The huge golden mosaic which decorates the facade was added in the 13th and 14th centuries. In the 14th to 16th centuries, several chapels of the nobility were added.
Perhaps, the basilica’s most famous chapel is that dedicated to St. Zita (1212-1272), the patron saint of maids and servants. She became a servant at the age of 12 and was despised and beaten by her fellow servants and employers. No matter what punishment was bestowed upon her, she retained her inner peace and showed nothing but respect and love to her abusers. By her actions, she was finally able to overcome the malice of her fellow servants and employers, until she was put in charge of all the affairs of the Fratinelli household.
She died at the age of 60 in 1272 and after her death, up to 150 miracles were attributed to her intercession and recognized by the church. Her incorrupt body was exhumed in 1580, was mummified and now reposes in the side chapel for all to see. She was canonized in 1696.
The church was one of the most magnificently decorated ones we would see in Italy and we spent a fair bit of time inside.
The artwork was magnificent
The ceilings themselves were masterpieces of art.