Palazzo del Podesta, also known as Palazzo del Broletto, is a medieval palace located in the historical center of Mantua, between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza Broletto, adjacent to Palazzo della Ragione.
Palazzo del Podesta was commissioned in 1227 by Laudarengo Martinengo from Brescia, appointed podesta of Mantua, and built starting with the same year.
In 1241, a fire destroyed the palace, which was then restored, enlarged and equipped with battlements. During the same time, Torre del Broletto was also rebuilt and Palazzo del Podesta became a symbol of the new municipal values.
In 1413, the palace was set on fire again. The arsonist was, probably, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, who, after the rise to power of the Gonzaga family, wanted to eliminate the symbolic building of the previous administration.
In the 15th century, after many decades of neglect, Palazzo del Podesta was recovered and, between 1462 and 1464, it was renovated in Renaissance style after a design by Luca Fancelli, commissioned by the Marquis Ludovico II Gonzaga. The works were supervised by the architect Giovanni Antonio D’Arezzo.
Many of the changes made by Luca Fancelli in the 15th century were eliminated in 1941, during the restoration campaign carried out by the architect Aldo Andreani.
After the earthquake of 2012, when the palace was damaged, a new restoration began, which is still ongoing. According to the current plans of the Municipality of Mantua, when the renovation will be completed, the palace will once again house the Town Hall, thus returning as the administrative center of the city.
The palace has two facades, one oriented towards Piazza Broletto and the other overlooking Piazza delle Erbe. The main facade on Piazza Broletto has a tall Clock Tower (Torre del Broletto) with an awkwardly placed coat of arms in the bottom left corner.
On the same facade overlooking Piazza Broletto, there is a 13th-century statue depicting Virgil on a chair, with his arms resting on a lectern which bears the inscription Virgilius Mantuanus poetarum clarissimus (Virgil of Mantua the most famous of the poets).
HOW TO GET THERE
Palazzo del Podesta is located about 1.1 kilometers away from the Mantua railway station. The closest bus stop is Concordia, about 170 meters away, on the bus Line CC.