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The Gonzaga

The Gonzaga dynasty left its trace over three centuries of history in this area, everywhere leaving signs of a prosperous and culturally active period. Starting from the city of Mantua, where the main branch originated from, the representatives of the family rapidly spread their influence throughout the province, giving life to the Minor Gonzagas. These led the municipalities under their domain to cultural, urban planning and artistic heights, reaching the peak of perfection in the creation of the town of Sabbioneta. Originally settled in Gonzaga, in the shadow of the Monastery of St. Benedict in Polirone, the Corradis (the original name of the family) were large landowners. Tired of the abuse of power imposed by Passerino Bonacolsi, in 1328 they decided to rebel through a coup immortalized by Domenico Morone, and seized power in Mantua. At the head of the operation was the forefather of the entire family: Luigi Gonzaga. From that time on, the Gonzagas were known for their political skill in managing public affairs and attention to the arts, bringing to the city works by Mantegna, Leon Battista Alberti and Giulio Romano; also  for marriage policy and developing Mantua through architecture and urban planning, making it a true garden of stone. The pinnacle of glory was reached under the regency of Isabella d'Este and Francesco II.

The church of Saint Andrew, the walls and the gates, Piazza Sordello, Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te are some of the greatest testimonies bequeathed by the family. An important date in the history of the Gonzagas, as it marks the separation into different strains, and expansion into the surrounding territory, was 1479. A few months after the death of the Marquis Ludovico II of Mantua, his five children divided their father's possessions that Ludovico had painstakingly gathered. This is how the various lordships arose in the provincial territory: Vespasiano became the prince and author of Sabbioneta, Ferrante Count of Guastalla, Ludovico of Castiglione delle Stiviere and Federico of Bozzolo and Gazzuolo. These lords were to mark the fate of the Gal area until the seventeenth century, in which the Habsburg Empire began their extinction.