Wonder  }  Architecture

The Ducal Palace of Sabbioneta

Sumptuous palace of representation, emblem of ducal power

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Where is


Piazza Ducale, 46018 Sabbioneta MN, Italia (0m s.l.m.)


What is it and where is the ideal home of Vespasiano Gonzaga

The Ducal Palace was the first building in Vespasiano Gonzaga's ideal city to be built; here the duke resided with his family, from here he administered the duchy, here he held his court. This mansion today, as then, fascinates with the elegance and richness of its forms and the treasures it holds, and invites us to enter to learn more about them. Impossible to resist.

Why it is special: the prestige of the Gonzaga family told in art

The interior is splendid: halls upon halls superbly decorated, so much so that they are breathtaking, all with different themes and motifs. Notable are the marble fireplaces, frescoes, and Lebanon cedar ceilings that in part retain their original gilding. The beauty is such that it is impossible to describe all the rooms here. We will only mention what is really unmissable, for the rest we refer you to the photos, but above all to a visit. You will not regret it.

Not to be missed: the rich halls of the Ducal Palace in Sabbioneta.

In the Hall of the Eagles, under a frieze painted with heraldic emblems, are four extraordinary life-size equestrian statues in polychrome wood depicting Vespasian and three of his ancestors: they are what remains of the Cavalcata, a series of statues made to celebrate the military virtues of the Gonzaga family; the others were destroyed by fire in the early 19th century. The Gallery of the Ancestors is another absolutely unmissable room; it is so called because of the portraits of the Gonzaga family in bas-relief stucco; on the barrel vault can be seen Phaeton driving the chariot of the sun, a fresco that is very reminiscent of Giulio Romano's in Mantua. In the Golden Room a wonderful gilded ceiling with pure gold leaf and a splendid fireplace.

A bit of history

The palace was begun before 1568 and completed after 1557. Bernardino Campi, Alberto Cavalli, and Fornaretto Mantovano worked on it.

Fun fact: a "sunny" detail. Happy birthday Vespasian!

Sabbioneta's official tourism website tells us that on December 6, Vespasian's birthday, the sun is projected into the palace through the central window of the facade. I wonder if this is an intended effect. Have you guys seen it?

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