Thiene is a lively busy town of more than 21,000 inhabitants, and dates back to Roman times. It was developed around a "castrum" and in Medieval times was transformed into a castle to defend the village and protect the local church: "Pieve di S. Maria". In 1281 the “Thiene Irrigation Ditch” was dug, and numerous craft workshops and craftsmen’s homes opened along its banks. A castrum, a castle and its parish church, a road and an irrigation ditch are those vital factors that gave life to Thiene. Its lucky geographic position and important road network for traffic from the Veneto Region, the Tyrol and beyond have all helped its growing prosperity.
Thiene became part of the Veneto Republic in 1404, which gave it the security and peace it needed to develop its economy and spread the arts and cultures. Markets, rural in medieval times and Free in 1492, then weekly every Monday, Festivals (St. John Baptist and the third Monday in October), workshops and stores all became the nerve centre for business for the town and larger territory. Members of noble Vicenza families, middleclass merchants, artisans and professionals all invested money into buying, reclaiming and irrigating the land, trade, building work which would all change and enrich the appearance of streets, squares and corners of the town.
The old St. Mary’s Parish Church became the town Church, beautiful villas and palazzos were built with their own private chapels (Villa Porto-Colleoni-Thiene and Palazzo Cornaggia) smart noble homes, important factories and farms. Thiene gradually grew over the years, showing its genuine spirit and cultural, artistic and social soul in the dynamic and busy area that surrounds the town.
Still today Thiene is a valid example of the Veneto model, being a reference centre for the social and economic fabric of the northern part of the province of Vicenza.
Built by the architect Serlio between 1640 and 1650; the square contains the fountain with the coat of arms of the town and the Civic Tower.
VILLA PORTO-COLLEONI NOW THIENE
The villa was built in 1476 but incorporates certain buildings from a previous period. The XV century frescoes by G. B. Zelotti and G. A. Fasolo are very interesting. The stables built in 1710 by the Architect Muttoni are also worth mention.
Dedicated to S. Gaetano, it was built in 1300 and restored in 1630. The current appearance is due to the baroque period, with the dome and some internal fittings. It now houses the Sacred Art Museum.
CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY
This building is from the end of the XV century, inside there are canvases, frescoes, sculptures and a sarcophagus from the same period.
Built in 1905 it is a lovely example of Italian Liberty. It houses the Civic Picture Gallery.
SANCTUARY – CONVENT MADONNA DELL'OLMO
Dating back to 1530 and restored in 1954, it conserves canvases, frescoes, sculptures and mosaics. The Cloisters are also very interesting.
THE FREE MARKET OF 1492
Market traditions in Thiene date way back, if we consider the historic quotes it seems that in 1259 numerous people went to the weekly town market. However it was in 1492 that, thanks to the merits gained on the Rovereto battlefield, the Republic of Venice granted the qualification of “Free market”, i.e. a considerable increase in trading was granted.
Every two years, on the first Saturday in October a very enthusiastic celebration is held with a realistic historic commemoration that began in 1992 to celebrate 500 years from the concession. Since 1997 however, on the first Sunday of October a Free Market of 1492 is set up. The people from Thiene and the surrounding areas are involved in a mix of work and fun; the event reproposes the ancient customs and flavours, reviving forgotten habits and recipes. The personalities wear refined renaissance costumes, designed and made by the volunteer dressmakers of the Historic Commemoration coordinated by the Thiene Tourist Promotion Office. If you want to do any shopping, when you enter the Market the current currency must be changed at the money changers’ with the "colombine", ancient coins from the “Land of Thiene”.
A date with history, traditions and folklore that displays and exalts the entrepreneurial roots of this “Land” guaranteeing the visitors have a magic return to the roots.
First week in October, Historic commemoration and renaissance market - Info: THIENE TOURIST PROMOTION OFFICE tel. 0445 369544 - Comune tel. 0445 804906
Lonedo di Lugo
Villa Godi Malinverni is one of the first buildings of Andrea Palladio and dates back to 1540. Its design was published by the architect in the treatise "The Four Books of Architecture", although there are several differences between the built structure and the drawing: note, for instance, how the windows are distributed and the presence of a pediment not realized.
The interiors were frescoed by three artists of si0teenth century Veronese tradition. Battista Zelotti decorated most rooms paintings muses and poets, e0alting the classic Gods in the room of Olympus and Venus and Cupid in the adjacent room. Whereas the walls of the hall show the scenes of the fights between the emperor Alexander the Great and the Persian king Darius and of Jupiter's passions for Ganymede and Europe. Gualtiero Padovano is undoubtely the weakest of the painters working here, as it can be seen in Putto's room.
There are also two important collections of pictures and fossils in Villa Malinverni. The picture-gallery shows some masterpiece of the nineteenth century Italian art: there are pictures of Cremona, Hayez, Induno, Michetti, Tofano and even Segantini.
Villa Piovene Porto Godi. The structure of Villa Piovene Porto Godi stands few steps from Villa Godi Malinverni. According to some historians its central body is ascribed to Andrea Palladio and dates back to 1539-40.
The facade shows a jutting pronaos with si0 olums of Ionic order crowned by the triangular pediment adorned with statues. In the eighteenth century Francesco Muttoni conceived the two lateral side-houses, the long staircase and the gate.
The garden is enriched by a lot of statues ascribed to Orazio Marinali or, more probaly, to sculptors from his circle. Muttoni also designed the pincers-shaped staircase that leads to the lofty floor and cuts the base of the pronaos. Built in the fifteenth century St. Jerome's chapel added to the Villa. A large park developed along the pre-mountain slopes is of national interest.