Public property, City Museum and Casa del Mantegna
Walking along Largo XXIV Maggio and Via Acerbi from Palazzo di San Sebastiano to the Casa del Mantegna, you find yourself alongside that which was once the great and splendid garden of the residence of Francesco II and Isabella d’Este, stretching as far as Via Gioppi. Today, in its place, you find Viale delle Rimembranze and houses built around the 1930s; however, hidden from view from those on the street, there remain two small parcels of land that serve as reminders: the space alongside the Palazzo di San Sebastiano, designed as part courtyard and part lawn, as part of the project to regenerate the complex, and the garden of the Casa del Mantegna. The latter, already the garden of the Casa di Mantegna, was incorporated, from 1502, by the San Sebastiano complex. In 1940, when the decision was made to uncover the Casa di Mantegna from the surrounding buildings, it was also decided to safeguard this space and make it into an Italian garden designed in celebration of the famous painter. The garden was created between 1940 and 1944 but, by 1957, its upkeep had already been abandoned; thus there only remain a few traces of the original design, just enough to recall its conformation. You can see two rows of yews at the far end, which, arranged in semicircles, remind us of what was originally a pruned exedra of arches and, on the right, the remains of a double row of hornbeams lining the path that leads from the garden to its entrances in Via Acerbi and Via Gioppi. Nothing remains, however, of the flowerbeds laid between the two rows of yews, today a lawn. The small Italian garden that completes the façade of Palazzo di San Sebastiano in Viale del Risorgimento was created in 2009, in an area that was not part of the historic garden, of which little is known and nothing remains. It was probably already lost by the time it became part of the Lanzoni property in 1772, and was destined for vegetable growing and orchards, going on to become, in the 1870s, along with the rest of the property, the experimental vegetable garden of the School of Agriculture, which it would remain until the end of the 1930s.
(From C. Bonora Previdi, L. Giacomini, Il giardino di Palazzo di San Sebastiano o della Pusterla, in I giardini dei Gonzaga 2018, pp. 335-345)