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The gardens

Research and studies conducted through a reinterpretation of historic iconography and cartography, compared with archival sources, with the aim of defining a preliminary overview of the gardens and green areas that complement the many Gonzaga residences in the "historic Mantua" area, enabled a survey of 84 sites between the current provinces of Mantua, Cremona and Reggio Emilia. The results were unprecedented and unexpected and paved the way for the preliminary outlines of the complex system of green areas that used to surround many Gonzaga residences and that embraced, often intertwined, typologically diverse places: from the secret garden to the maze, from the meeting spaces to the production areas of the vegetable gardens and broli (old, walled-in orchards), until the establishment of areas for hunting that were fenced off and protected no less than the beautiful gardens. A complex weave of spaces, characterized by the overall layout of the area; highlighting that not only the main branch of the Gonzaga family of Mantua could benefit from a structured network of residences and green areas with differentiated and complementary functions, but that the "minor" branches tended to replicate - according to their respective financial resources - a similar system that stamped a distinctive character onto the layout of the territory.

(taken from C. Bonora Previdi, M. Brignani, I giardini dei Gonzaga nei territori dell’ex ducato di Mantova e dei limitrofi feudi dei rami collaterali, in I giardini dei Gonzaga 2018, pp. 177-181).

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