The first settlements date back to the Bronze Age around 2000 BC. In the 6th century BC the Celts settled on the fertile land of the Po Valley and later Gauls and Romans settled here. Even in pre-Roman times, the area was valued as pasture and cattle land and developed into a thriving commercial and economic metropolis in the Roman Empire. The Roman historians Tacito and Plinio the Elder described Vercelli as a thriving city, rich in forests and fertile pastureland where cattle, pigs and sheep were kept.
Vercelli was located at a critical traffic junction between Novara, Turin and Milano, as well as the Mediterranean and the Alps. This enabled a lively trade that brought valuable goods into the city. After the 2nd Punic War, Roman rule began in Vercelli. The “Municipium Vercellae” was founded in 49 BC as a symbol of a Roman city. During this time an amphitheater, streets, aqueducts and public baths were built. Vercelli has been going up and down over the centuries. Numerous wars destroyed and depopulated the city, including the Goths in 401, later Attila and the Huns in 451. Vercelli came under the Lombard and later French rule from the 6th to the 8th centuries.
Cultivating rice and trading this valuable food has made Vercelli rich. In the Middle Ages Vercelli was an important bishopric, which was even allowed to mint gold coins.