Palazzo Porto-Colleoni-Thiene, commonly known under the name of Castello di Thiene, was built in 1450 at the behest of Francesco Porto, a member of one of the wealthiest families in the Vicenza area, for the storage of agricultural products.
Francesco Porto seniore succeeds Francesco Porto juniore - who is appointed Collateral General by Doge Gritti in 1532 -, then moves on to Giovanni Porto who will build Palladio's well shaft and the residence will remain in the hands of the Porto family until 1816. The property on the part of Colleoni-Porto it will begin with Orazio Guardino Colleoni, great-grandson of Orazio Porto, with the obligation to reside in Vicenza and to associate the surname Porto with his own; this will go on for three generations. The last descendant, who died in 1918 without children, indicates as heir his cousin Antonio Thiene, whose family is still the current owner of the castle today.
It is not yet certain who the architect who conceived the project is, but without a shadow of a doubt the creator was inspired by the typical Venetian warehouse-house, where the architectural characteristics of the Venetian gothic buildings of residence and warehouse / place of trade are blend with some medieval ideas (in fact it is very reminiscent of the Fontego dei Turchi). The project is presumed to have been started in the mid-15th century by the architect Domenico da Venezia - who worked for the Cathedral of Vicenza and the Palazzo della Ragione from 1448 to 1453 - and, over the centuries, it has undergone numerous extensions and alterations.
The large facade of the residence, once completely frescoed, shows arches, capitals, fireplaces, stone decorations and the entire building has barchesse, the noble courtyard, the courtyard-courtyard for agricultural work with magnificent secular magnolias and underpasses to reach the nearby vegetable gardens, as well as a well-kept garden and a splendid eighteenth-century stable by Francesco Muttoni. Outside the monumental complex, there is the Gentilizia Chapel, better known as the Church of the Nativity of Mary also known as the Red Church, which can be reached directly from the Castle using an underpass.
Of the various rooms of the palace, the great hall known as Camerone del Camino is worthy of note, where frescoes by Giovan Antonio Fasolo and Giovanni Battista Zelotti, pupils of Paolo Veronese, made around 1570 are preserved intact, while the Galleria de Cavalli is a large T-shaped room on the main floor, which originally contained the granary, entirely decorated with canvases depicting equestrian portraits. Of particular interest is the room entirely frescoed between 1790-95 by Davide Rossi and Gaetano Costalonga with the work Caduta di Phaeton and the dining room, with nineteenth-century furniture and the coat of arms of the Colleoni family. There are also the billiard room, the blue sitting room and the red salon and, among the private rooms, the bedroom and the ancient kitchens.
Particularly interesting is the eighteenth-century stable, presumably used to train horses, designed by Francesco Muttoni between the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century, with 32 stalls (16 on each side), columns in red Asiago marble on the top of which rest a series of putti in Vicenza stone by the Marinali workshop; The pavement, in white and pink stone bricks positioned in a herringbone pattern, is also worth a closer look. In front of the main façade, a stone column is still visible to which the horse was attached to allow the buyer to choose the quadruped according to his ability to perform the exercises.
A beautiful airy park characterized by secular magnolias planted in the second half of the nineteenth century sees the presence of a sixteenth-century cedar tree, an artificial watercourse and a cave built in 1580 by Cristoforo Sorte.
As a topical note, the location was chosen in 2004 for the film The Merchant of Venice, together with other venues in the Veneto, to shoot the exteriors of the film.