Sabbioneta: introduction

Sabbioneta Hotel

Situated just a few kilometers away from Mantova, the town of Sabbioneta was built according to the wishes of the decidedly eccentric Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga, between 1556 and 1591. It was in this relatively short period of time that all of the town's principal monuments were erected, within perimeter walls built so as to form a six-pointed star.

Palazzo Ducale, facing on to the piazza of the same name, was the center of town government and the official residence of the Duke. This is where to find the Galleria degli Antenati, which houses statues of four members of the Gonzaga family, including a bearded Vespasiano on horseback. Vespasiano reserved a whole area of the town for his own private use. This is where he built his Palazzo Giardino, the outwardly austere appearance of which provides a stark contrast with the incredibly ornate interiors.

One of Sabbioneta's most important works of architecture, the Teatro Olimpico, was inspired by Palladio's theatre (of the same name) in Vicenza, complete with wooden stands and colonnade adorned with statues of pagan gods. Not to be missed: the Church of the Assunta and the Museum of Sacred Art, where numerous treasures accumulated by the Gonzaga dynasty are conserved.

Itineraries and travel ideas

Sabbioneta: places to see in the area