Brendola, an ancient town located on the beautiful hills the tourist can see when driving along the Verona-Vicenza stretch of the A4 motorway. The small town centre is placed on the Northern side of a hill overtopped by an ancient castle, built around year One Thousand, and it stands as a very striking place to visit, in a hauntingly beautiful region as Veneto is.
The town stretches also on the plain beneath where, once upon a time, huge parcels of cultivated land gave prosperity to the people living by. At the centre of this plain parting Brendola’s municipality from Montecchio hills, just opposite, is located Villa Orna. A country house built around the end of the 18th century. The structure reflects the typical country mansion with a main building where two huge porticoes can be seen, which allowed carts to get in and out from the building, and with an attic used as granary.
Around half of the 19th century the buildings were enlarged to became the house of a conspicuous family, the owners of all the cultivated lands of the valley.
During World War One, the villa was seized by the British army and was turned into a warehouse to store food, from where supplies to the troops fighting in the forefront on the nearby Venetian Prealps were despatched. After the end of the war, the villa was donated to the Curia arcivescovile (local religious administration center) of Vicenza and turned into a convent. Later on, the same villa was bought out by another family who used it as a tobacco manufacturing facility, after which the villa was left abandoned during the 70s, and then bought again by the Obrietan family, in 1987.
After a remarkable makeover was carried out, the villa became the family’s house on June 11, 1988 and since 1996, it is as well the seat of Thais Antique Gallery. On June 11, 2005, on the occasion of of Gioacchino Obrietan and his wife Elisabetta’s 17th wedding anniversary, the Obrietan Museum was inaugurated in the western part of the building, previously used as a granary.
Three buildings are left today from the ancient compound: the guest quarter has been arranged behind the main building, whilst the ancient stables have been completely renovated and they currently house the restoration workshops and some of the Gallery exhibits. The buildings are surrounded by a big garden, stud with magnolias and horse chestnuts, among which some statues of the Buddha and temple bells coming from China are displayed.