It is one of the two palaces designed by Palladio in Vicenza for the Porto family, the other being Palazzo Porto, for Iseppo Porto, in Contrà Porti, and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto.
Alessandro Porto inherited the family properties in Piazza Castello after the death of his father, Benedetto Porto, which took place in 1571. The family assets were divided between the brothers Alessandro, Orazio and Pompeo.
Francesco Thiene, owner of the Palladian palace of the same name at the other end of Piazza Castello, married Isabella Porto, Alessandro’s sister, and a competition began between the two families for having the most imposing palace in the square.
The palace was designed with seven bays and a courtyard with an exedra, as shown by an analysis of the surviving walls, but the works were stopped near the end of the 16th century and never resumed. The reasons remain unknown.
Between October 2009 and the first months of 2011, the palace was restored.
The two standing bays of the palace let us imagine how the facade would have looked if the project was completed, with a giant order of semi-columns inserted on high plinths and topped by tall composite capitals.
The appearance of the facade is animated, in the upper part, by high openings, whose balconies form large protrusions supported by corbels. The windows are surmounted by alternating triangular and round pediments, according to the pattern of the seven planned bays.
Above each window, a frieze with a garland of fruit fills the space between the capitals. The upper floor, under the strongly protruding cornice, is occupied by an attic.
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo Porto is located about 450 meters away from the Vicenza railway station. The closest bus stop is in Piazza Castello, about 50 meters away, on the bus Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 17, 18, 101, 121, 123, 124, 125, 129, 133, 134 and 142.