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.
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.
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.
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