The Park

The trasformation of the park through the years

The Castle is now part of a completely built-up area in the heart of Thiene’s old city centre, of  which it is the symbol. The boundary wall and big doorways in the form of crenellated towers separate 12,000 square metres of grounds from the public streets. The park behind and the ice house can be visited on request.

 

The grand courtyard in front of the castle played the traditional agricultural role - a barnyard with domestic animals, once partly paved for threshing grain, sacking products, shelling legumes etc. - but also one of entertainment, from which the various paths branch off to the gardens, both those at the rear and the ‘secret’ ones beside the lateral towers. It is now distinguished by two rows of extraordinary magnolia grandiflora trees planted in the second half of the 19th century.
The service buildings face onto the courtyard, including that which was once the fattoria (residence of the gastaldo or steward), the colombara (dovecote), for breeding pigeons, the glasshouses and the barchesse (colonnaded barns). The latter have porticoes that had a precise function for supporting the activities of the main house, with space for keeping wagons and tools, storerooms, work rooms, stalls and craft workshops. The barchesse took on an important architectural value with Andrea Palladio by being connected to the main house and consequently defining the layout.


The park that extends behind the castle is crossed by an artificial canal built by the Thiene community in 1281 to irrigate the fields to the north. Used for washing, irrigation, watering animals and personal hygiene, it was a fundamental resource for the urban development of Thiene, allowing dye-houses, mills, drop-hammers, tanneries and so on to be set up on its banks.
Water was taken from the canal to irrigate the 16th-century citrus house: a very long colonnade beside the north wall, sheltered from the cold winds, that acted as a hothouse for the cultivation of citrus trees.

 

The water from the canal was also used to supply the fish pond that once surrounded the grotto created in 1580 by Cristoforo Sorte, engineer, cartographer and assessor of the Magistracy of Uncultivated Lands for many years. It is an elliptical grotto lined with porous rock outside and once also decorated inside with ‘tiles’ and ‘maritime things’. A play of water spouts amazed and fascinated the guests.
Over the centuries the park has undergone various alterations and its layout has been changed several times. The current configuration as a ‘romantic garden’ is the result of late 19th-century changes to a design probably by Antonio Caregaro Negrin. In the 19th century the property was largely abandoned for about 30 years, until Caterina Roncalli, wife of Orazio Porto, decided to use Thiene as a residence for ‘holidays’.


Grand works were undertaken to bring it into line with the fashion and comforts of the time. The fish pond was enlarged into a small lake, but then filled in in 1973 because the water was polluted.
Access to the adjacent areas of land such as the vegetable garden and orchard - which were always part of the property but separated by public roads - was through subways built in the 16th century.
Only the one that led to the noble chapel is still accessible. It contains the ice house, a large cistern with a brick vault that was filled with ice and snow to allow the conservation of foods, also in summer, in the adjacent cells.

 

In September the Castle hosts VIRIDALIA a nursery-gardening market.

 

The colombara (dovecote)

The colombara (dovecote)

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