Piazza Castello, formerly known as Prato di Castello, is one of the most significant squares in the historical center of Mantua. The square is located inside the Ducal Palace, adjacent to the imposing Castello di San Giorgio, and is accessed from Piazza Sordello through a monumental entrance resembling a triumphal arch, frescoed on the inside, work of the architect Antonio Maria Viani. SHORT HISTORY Piazza Castello was built in the 16th century by the architect Giovanni Battista Bertani, a pupil of Giulio Romano. Bertani was promoted after Romano’s death to the post of prefect of the ducal studio (chief architect) of the Gonzagas, a position he held between 1549 and 1576. ARCHITECTURE The square is the largest open space inside the Palazzo Ducale complex, and is surrounded on three sides by elegant late 16th-century arcades, probably designed by Bertani, decorated with frescoed festoons of flowers and fruit. Besides the monumental entrance, Antonio Maria Viani is responsible also for the exedra in front of it, once the entrance to the St. Giorgio’s Castle. On the western side of the square, the only one without arcades, are the rooms of the ancient chancellery. To the south of the square, there Read more [...]
In Italy, a city square, commonly found at the meeting of two or more streets, is a piazza. Every Italian city has a piazza or more, with streets radiating from the center, with green areas and places to rest. As key points in a city, in the squares you can find shops and public transport stations, but the Italians use it especially for evening walks and meetings with friends. Also, the city's main events take place in the central square.
The worlds best known square may be the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, but we must not forget other beautiful squares like Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Piazza del Campo in Siena, Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Prato della Valle in Padua, Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Piazza San Pietro in Vatican, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna in Rome, or Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples. Moreover, every town in Italy, no matter how small, has a beautiful main square that we invite you to discover.
Piazza delle Erbe is one of the main squares in Mantua. Together with the nearby Piazza Sordello, Piazza delle Erbe was the center of the civil power of Mantua for about 800 hundred years. SHORT HISTORY Piazza delle Erbe began to take shape towards the end of the 12th century, when a vast unpaved land on the eastern side of the Basilica of Sant’Andrea was used as a venue for the cattle market. The space in front of Via di Sant’Andrea, now Via Broletto, where shops were already built, was divided in two by Palazzo del Podesta, also known as Palazzo del Broletto, built in 1227. On the eastern side of the square, between Palazzo del Podesta and the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Palazzo della Ragione was built around the middle of the 12th century. During the domination of the Bonacolsi and later of the Gonzagas, the administrative and political power center moved gradually from Piazza delle Erbe to the new Piazza San Pietro, now Piazza Sordello. In 1455, in the western corner of the square, the House of the Merchant Giovan Boniforte da Concorezzo was built, decorated in late Gothic style with Venetian terracotta. In the second half Read more [...]
Piazza Sordello is a beautiful square in Mantua, dedicated to the Mantuan troubadour of the 13th century, Sordello da Goito. SHORT HISTORY The square was built in 1330, after the demolition of some old buildings located between two parallel streets that followed the urban design of the ancient Roman city. One street, Strada Magna, connected the Vault of San Pietro (Voltone di San Pietro) with the Cathedral, while the other street, Strata Sanctae Mariae Matris Domini, connected the church that gave its name to the Church of Santa Croce, later incorporated into the Ducal Palace. For centuries, Piazza di San Pietro, as it was known then, remained the center of Mantua’s political, social and religious life. In December 2006, the remains of mosaic-decorated floors of an imperial Roman villa were found in the southeast corner of Piazza Sordello. Currently, the archaeological site, awaiting new excavations, is contained in a structure so that it can be viewed by the public. ARCHITECTURE Most of the buildings located in the square date back to the Middle Ages. To the north of the square, there is the Cathedral of San Pietro (Cattedrale di San Pietro), built between 1395 and 1401, and renovated Read more [...]