A journey through time

Palazzo del podestà

The palace is divided into rather small rooms positioned on various levels that date to different periods: the virtual visitor must follow a winding path along which it is possible to admire the traces left by the old inhabitants of the city. Middle-ages, Renaissance, sixteenth century come together and form a singular alliance.  

The signs of the past
Walls, bricks, wood beams give witness until the Twentieth century. Several generations of detained have been jailed here. The rooms and the halls have been through years adapted to play different roles, determining the appearance that we see nowadays.  

Of particular historical interest are the spaces that connect the Palazzo to the so-called Masseria located on the east side of Piazza Broletto. They correspond to the part above the vault, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Arengario, which today divides the same square from Via Ardigò. The interest is due not so much to the artistic evidence as to the fact that over time these places were used for many different purposes, even as a prison in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

We are on the fifth level of the building. Above the vault in fact there are two levels; the fifth, where the mullioned windows are, and the sixth, characterized by a row of columns.

The fifth level, that probably dates to the thirteenth century, is today characterized by a wall that forms four small cells, each of which has a square window that gives onto Via Ardigò. It is the first floor of the vault, where today, looking from Piazza Broletto, two impressive mullioned windows are visible, rebuilt during the renovation works by Aldo Andreani.

Over the four doors and on at least three of the walls still today it is possible to admire a fresco of plant motifs, painted with light colours on a dark background; it is clearly a work from late Renaissance. To the right of the fresco, by an opening that is today closed, there is a much older layer of paint with various types of decorative elements: a design with heart shaped leaves, a series of black eight-pointed stars, and other more geometric inventions.

The south wall of the area on the first floor above the vault is also characterized, in its central part, by late Renaissance decorations. It is possible to make out a fragment of fresco, that today is almost completely lost, representing, as on the opposite wall, the coat of arms of the Gonzaga family.

Here we are on the sixth level, in a different part of the palace.

Still on the sixth level, a corner room.

We are back on the first floor above the vault. Also on the west wall, where the mullioned windows are, we see remains of frescoes.

Also on the faux frescoed gable the Gonzaga coat of arms appears.

In many places of the palace there are traces of frescoes

More traces of frescos, probably from the Renaissance period.

Also the decorations on the ceilings of the palace are of considerable value; they date to different periods.

Large portions of the ceiling are still painted in bright colours. Here the decoration dates to the Baroque period.

One of the many findings brought to light during restoration work. This carved mask, perhaps the decoration of a fountain, was found in the area between Palazzo del Podestà and Palazzo della Ragione.

Scrap material found during renovation work.

An image of the King of Italy Umberto I of Savoy, who was killed July 29, 1900 after twenty-two years of rule, by the anarchist Gaetano Bresci. It is another piece demonstrating the decorative evolution of the Palazzo which spans eight centuries.

Credits: Story

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:
Sebastiano Sali

Curatore testi e immagini / Superintendent texts and images:
Giovanni Pasetti

Foto di / Photo by:
Gian Maria Pontiroli

Redazione/ Editors:
Erica Beccalossi
Sara Crimella
Carlotta Depalmas
Veronica Zirelli

Un ringraziamento speciale a / A special thanks to:
Emma Catherine Gainsforth
Elisa Gasparini
Paola Menabò
Ciro Molitierno
Paola Somenzi

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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