History

In 1441 Francesco Porto senior inherited a large property holding from his father and uncle, mainly concentrated in Thiene, Marano and Malo - where the Porto had already bought much land in the 14th century - consequently he began raising this building in around 1450.

Francesco Porto junior (1472-1554, grandson of the founder) commissioned extension works (raising the granary level), the enhancement of the garden with maze, fountain and statues (whose memory remains only in documents), the building of stone staircases and decoration of the facades (in Venetian tradition) with big horses and medallions featuring Roman emperors.
Francesco was nominated Generale Collaterale by Doge Gritti (1532), a position given to people of proven loyalty, with administrative responsibilities for recruiting troops, supervising their quartering and providing for their payment.
Francesco is fundamental in the history of the castle: in 1541 he set up a trust in which - having no sons - he nominated the first born male in the descending lines of his brothers, who would inherit the palazzo and non-transferable ownership of the ‘Thiene’ assets gained by inheritance.
The overall Renaissance transformation project was begun by his grandson Giovanni (first heir in the hierarchy), with the well by Palladio (1554) and the frescoes in the camerone (c. 1570), and completed by Giovanni Battista (Giovanni’s only son), who built the citrus winter garden and the grotto with fish pond in the garden (1580), by Cristoforo Sorte.
The stables were built at the start of the 18th century to a design by Francesco Muttoni in association with the renowned Marinali sculpture workshop in what is a rare example of magnificence and rationale.
At the end of the 18th century the left wing of the portico on the ground floor was altered. It had contained the service rooms (kitchen, laundry, oven etc.) connected to the fattoria where the administrative functions of the property were carried out: the dividing walls were demolished and two reception rooms were created, one of which was frescoed with ‘The Fall of Phaeton’.
Orazio Porto (1729-1816) nominated his great grandson Orazio Guardino Colleoni as his heir, with the provision that he live in Vicenza and add the Porto surname to his own. The castle remained in Colleoni-Porto ownership for three generations. An initial lack of interest was followed by a vast programme to renovate the furnishings and transform the gardens. Guardino, the last of the line, died in 1918 without sons and named his cousin Antonio Thiene as heir.
The original layout has been altered over more than 500 years of conversions, adjustments, extensions and maintenance, creating a very interesting and constantly evolving layering of functions, materials, furnishings and decorations, still far from being completely revealed. The Castle, now the symbol of Thiene, is still a private building looked after passionately by its current owners, the Conti di Thiene, who are committed to upgrading this vast monumental complex to ensure it can always be enjoyed by scholars, visitors and the simply curious.

The Porto coat of arms

The Porto coat of arms

The Colleoni coat of arms

The Colleoni coat of arms

The Thiene coat of arms

The Thiene coat of arms

Map of 1776

Map of 1776

Photos of 1925

Photos of 1925

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