OP - Viaggiare nell’Oglio Po
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Ducal Palace

The Ducal Palace is the oldest building in Sabbioneta, traced to Vespasiano Gonzaga’s interventions on the city, and was the governing and economic seat of the city in those times. The central body, built from 1554 to 1568, the year in which Vespasiano departed for Spain, consists of the two central pilasters of the loggia, the hall of Eagles, the room of the Ancestors and Throne, with heraldic elements that do not refer to the ducal appellation. The palace has rich decorations, among which are frescoes on vaults and walls, or wooden painted ceilings accompanied by friezes at their utmost splendour in the golden hall, entirely embellished by the prized metal. In these two rooms, the restroom of Diana and the hall of the Ancestors, one can admire impressive mythological decorations. The first room is on the ground floor and presents a pavilion-shaped vault and lunettes with stucco frescoes and cornices. It is structured in a central frame, depicting the episode of Diana and Endymion, attributed by researchers to Bernardino Campi, and broad grotesque frames, attributed to Fornaretto from Mantua, probably also the author of the Venus Restroom and the “Delle Grazie” Restroom of the Palazzo del Giardino in Sabbioneta. The second room illustrates three philosopher emperors, Trajan, Adrian and Antoninus Pius together with mythological personages like Mercury and Mars, referring evidently to the gifts of ability, wisdom and warring prowess. This is a clear representation of humanity’s cultural progress. Here, one can also  admire the horse statue of Vespasian. The Lord of Sabbioneta is depicted astride a warhorse, clearly referring to his being a traveller and a great man of arms. The horse has its right leg lifted because it was the cause of Vespasian’s death, which came about when he was only 60 years of age. 

     

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