It is the duty of the people of today to save the past and make it available for all the citizens. The renovation of the Podestà Palace is part of process undergone by the building throughout the centuries; the restoration work brings to light the various stratifications dating to different periods.
From late 2012 to late 2013 the first part of the project was carried out. Subsequent works were divided into two different phases, which would have restored splendour and functionality to the buildings. Everything was then organized to create a harmonic relationship with the initiatives for Mantua Capital of Italian Culture, which the city was awarded in 2016. Guided tours allow visitors to admire the monuments In particular, Palazzo del Podestà is an imposing building on eight floors, covering thousands of square meters, with more than two hundred rooms. Already the first consolidation works have uncovered remarkable frescoes from different eras. The maze of rooms, however, make it very difficult to establish what the main use the building should be. In addition, any intervention must absolutely respect the extraordinary stratification of the rooms, which have undergone continuous renovation over the centuries, until recent years.
With its imposing size, Palazzo del Podestà towers over the city centre of Virgil's native town. Research into the historical documents has brought to light some key points, many doubts and many hypothesis. The whole area, adjacent to the great Cathedral of Sant'Andrea, and that used to be next to the ancient Benedictine monastery in medieval times, in the thirteenth century was scattered with several buildings that played a central role, despite their different functions, in the life of the commune of Mantua, born after the rule of Matilda di Canossa. The plaque below the statue of Virgil on the facade overlooking Piazza Broletto informs us of the year the building was erected. It is written in fact that in the year 1227 the mayor Loderengo Martinengo from Brescia ordered the construction of the palace.
This view, which shows Piazza Erbe today, Palazzo della Ragione and the fifteenth century Astronomical Clock Tower, gives an idea of the functional, artistic and historical twine of the buildings that today have survived the continuous series of renovations and constructions. If on the one hand still today it is possible to admire the grace and character given to Palazzo del Podestà by architect Fancelli, despite the radical alterations made by Aldo Andreani, on the other hand the viewer must keep in mind that the building is a synthesis, unique of its kind, of divergent architectural perspectives. These different influences are visible if we look at the facades, the interior, along a fascinating walk that is also a journey into the past. It must also be noted that the facade on Piazza Erbe, the work on Fancelli, is juxtaposed to the pre-existing medieval facade, of which we can still see the frescoes painted on the once exterior walls.
Ideato e promosso da / Founded and Promoted by:
Mattia Palazzi (Sindaco del Comune di Mantova)
con Lorenza Baroncelli (Assessore alla rigenerazione urbana e del territorio, marketing urbano, progetti e relazioni internazionali del Comune di Mantova)
Coordinamento Scientifico / Scientific Coordinator:
Curatore testi e immagini / Superintendent texts and images:
Foto di / Photo by:
Gian Maria Pontiroli
Un ringraziamento speciale a / A special thanks to:
Emma Catherine Gainsforth