SABBIONETA,a neglected Unesco World Heritage Site Jul 15, 2011
This sleepy little place located around 30 km north of Parma earned in 2008 together with Mantua,35 km away the prestigious World Heritage Status.These 2 towns are perfect examples of Renaissance town planning.
While Mantua was renewed and extended,Sabbioneta,the independent city of one man and one period was built ex novo by Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna in the second half of the 16th century(between 1556 and 1591)as the capital of one of the smallest states of "Italy".This ideal city based on his dreams of the societies of Greece and Rome was built as an impregnable fortress surrounded by red stone walls with 6 wedge shaped bastions fortifying the corners and a right angle layout.
When you enter the quiet city with around 350 people intramuros,you feel to be in an other world the time forgot.
Mostly visited by schoolkids,you can park easily there(around only 50,000 visitors per year!!) and begin the visit by the Garden Palace(Palazzo del Giardino),its facade may originally have been frescoed),it was the Duke's Summer palace,it's the ONLY PLACE where you can buy TICKETS!!!(when we reached the main square,as we were a bit tired and bored of the magnificent Lombardian old stones,we were too lazy to go back and missed the not free visits!!).The space is closed by the unique Corridor Grande that housed the Duke's collections of antiquities(only one statue of Pallas Athena on an honorary column standing at the centre of Piazza d'Armi remains).
Have a look at the centre of the town where stand the Palazzo Ducale,the Teatro all'Antica,the first autonomous purpose built theatre of the modern age...
Sabbionneta is also famous for its ghetto and synagogue but also its 3 churches,don't miss the octogonal plan church of the Beata Virgine Incoronata which houses the ducal mausoleum...
Part of the Italian Renaissance gems:Mantova,Ferrara and around travel blog
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