A journey through time

By 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.  

DecorationPalazzo del podestà

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.  

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

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

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Still on the sixth level, a corner room.

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

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

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

In many places of the palace there are traces of frescoes

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

More traces of frescos, probably from the Renaissance period.

Palazzo del Podestà (1227)Palazzo del podestà

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

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

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

Palazzo del PodestàPalazzo del podestà

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

Palazzo del Podestà, maskPalazzo del podestà

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.

Palazzo del Podestà, Scrap materialPalazzo del podestà

Scrap material found during renovation work.

Palazzo del Podestà, bas-reliefPalazzo del podestà

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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