Villa/Castello da Porto Colleoni at Thiene (VI)


Thiene, Province of Vicenza, Corso Garibaldi; train station at Thiene on the Vicenza-Schio(*) line about 750 m/half mile to the south.  The villa is at the end of the Vicenza-Thiene bike route.

This villa was constructed during the first half of the sixteenth century, from a commission from the Porto (or da Porto) family, in the form of a medieval castle, and therefore it is referred to as the castle of Thiene.   All the same, it seems to preclude the likelihood of being part of an earlier castle, since the structure of the villa seems to have been built as one unified project.  The style of both the building and the windows is that of a Venetian Gothic palazzo, which suggests the work of  Domenico da Venezia, known as an “engineer” of the Serenissima Repubblica [Serene Republic = Venice]; his name is indicated as the architect on the plaque at the entrance.

The villa, originally set in the countryside, part of an agricultural estate, was highly visible from a distance, then bit by bit it was agglomerated into the town of Thiene which grew all around it.  Its hybrid design between villa and castle has been highly imitated.  During the eighteenth century, a structure was erected next to the villa to house the stables based on a design of F. Muttoni.

Inside the villa there are frescoes by G. A. Fasolo and G. B. Zelotti; it is believed that there were also works by Paolo Veronese, but that they have been destroyed from successive renovations.

The villa transferred ownership to the Colleoni family in the nineteenth century and today is the property of the Counts of Thiene and therefore normally is closed to the public; visits are possible, but only for groups on guided tours and on specific dates and times (see official website).

(*)On this line all the trains are of the Minuetto type and therefore always have two places for bicycles.

Latest visit 15 November 2014.

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.