• About

    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 is a passage that makes the connection with Piazza Santa Barbara, where the palatine Church of Santa Barbara is located.

    On the opposite side of the church, once stood the court theater, destroyed and rebuilt several times. Here, at the beginning of the 20th century, the Cocoons Market (Mercato dei Bozzoli) was set up for the trade of silkworms and weaving. Now restored, the building houses the National Archaeological Museum of Mantua.

    Piazza Castello is now used as a venue for events related to the Literature Festival (Festivaletteratura).

     

    HOW TO GET THERE

    Piazza Castello is located about 1,5 kilometers from the Mantua railway station. The closest bus stop is Duomo, located about 100 meters away, on the bus Lines 4C, 4S, 4T, 6 and 12.

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