Barchessa of Villa Thiene at Villafranca Padovana


Villafranca Padovana, province of Padova, 20 m/66 feet above sea level, located along provincial route SP 75.  Train station at Mestrino, to the south on the Milano-Venezia line, or at Padova about 10 km/6 miles to the southeast.  The villa is reachable on bike from Piazzola sul Brenta or from Padova; when the Padovano section of the Treviso-Ostiglia bike route is completed it will be easily reachable from this bike path, as well.

Those who travel the provincial highway from Piazzola sul Brenta to Padova, would be hard-pressed to take particular note of this agricultural complex.  But in fact the barchessa [farm support structure] that defines the northern edge of the complex has a decidedly more noble quality than the rest.  This is in fact the only fragment ever constructed of a majestic Palladio design for (*)Villa Thiene.

The Vicenza nobleman Francesco Thiene, around 1556 or a bit earlier, directed Palladio to construct this villa.  Francesco died soon afterwards leaving the unfinished project to his sons Odoacre and Teodoro.  Work on the villa was begun starting with the right barchessa, but in 1567 Odoacre was forced to flee to Protestant lands for religious reasons and the project was abandoned forever.


What remains today of the project is just a barchessa of five arches (the design included in the Second Book of Architecture indicates only four arches) now used for storage in support of the manor house constructed during the nineteenth century.

The barchessa today is private property and can be visited, but only with previous permission form the owners.

Latest visit:  28 July 2013

All photos by Paolo Bonavoglia, unless indicated otherwise.

For an overall interactive map of the Veneto, showing all these villas and many more, please see this custom Google map.

(*)Not to be confused with the other Palladio Villa Thiene at Quinto Vicentino.  RB