Rich in charme, art and history Mantua and Sabbioneta entered the Unesco World Heritage List in 2008. The two cities have in common the inheritance that the Gonzaga dinasty left them: Mantua incarnates the model of a renaissance city's evolution, constantly renewed through hydraulic and architectural interventions and through city planning; Sabbioneta was instead built from scratch, a reference for the ideal city imagined by humanism.
Aristocratic, rich in art and history, Mantua was turned by Gonzaga (1328-1707) in a court city of great splendour. Every corner of its historical centre testifies its eminent history and its rich traditions: colonnades, squares, courtyards, enchanting that convey the magnificence of the 16th century courts. The renaissance palaces that emerge between medieval and neoclassical buildings show us Gonzaga's creative dynamism and supremacy. The family's main residence, the Ducal Palace, is a real city-palace that contains more than 500 rooms connected through aisles, internal yards and gardens. The Captain's Palace and the Magna Domus overlook the city and constitute the most ancient section. The most famous room in the Saint George Castle is the Bridal Chamber, decorated with Andrea Mantegna's frescos, a 15th century masterpiece. The city's architectural gems are quite concentrated in the very centre: the Duomo, the Episcopal palace, the Uberti Palace, the Castiglioni Palace, the Palace of Wisdom and the adjacent Clock Tower, the Mantegna's Home, the Saint Sebastian Temple, by Leon Battista Alberti. A large park surrounds the Te Palace, a majestic villa commissioned by Federico II Gonzaga to Giulio Romano, who also took care of its lavish internal decoration, in cooperation with his associates.
A priceless miniature urban jewel, conceived by Vespasiano Gonzaga, an enlightened prince and a follower of Vitruvio. This ideal city was built from scratch in the second half of the 16th century, inspired by the classical world's ancient cities. Vespasiano wanted to make a Little Athens out of it, but after his death a fast decadence began, depopulating it, but leaving its monuments untouched. Sabbioneta keeps its urbanistic structure intact, with its star-shaped walls, its refined renaissance buildings and - among its main attractions - the Imperial and Victory city gates, the Gallery of the Ancient in Piazza d'Armi, the Olympic Theatre designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi and decorated with Paolo Veronese's frescos, the church of the Holy Assumption of Mary, the Ducal Palace and the Garden Palace.
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