The Mantua Palazzo del Te

In honor of Isabella Boschetti

The Mantua Palazzo del Te built between 1524 and 1534 by Federico II Gonzaga. Made it in honor of his lover, Isabella Boschetti (or Boschetto) (1500 – 1560), a noble Mantuan lady. The Gonzagas famous for rivalled the Medici of Florence during the Renaissance.

This palace could be the most famous work by the Italian architect Giulio Romano (1492-1546). Previously we also described another masterpiece from him inthe article Palazzo della Torre Allegrini. In Fumane, near Verona. Back then the Palazzo Te considered to be a grandiose suburban villa intended for entertainment, parties, and receptions of the Court.

This sumptuous palace belonged to one of those variations on the theme of the island of the immortals. A place where death and suffering do not enter, a sort of earthly Olympus.  The name Te could be connected to “tegia” from the Latin “attegia,” meaning hut.

Today it counts as part of the city of Mantua. But originally it looked like an island. In the middle of the 15th century, the Rio channel divided Mantua into two large islands surrounded by lakes. A third small island called Tejeto from the Middle Ages became shorter at Te. Chosen for the construction of this little Versailles.

The interns

The seat of the Gonzagas in Mantua consisted of the Doge’s Palace.

In addition to Giulio Romano, several other painters collaborated to create the rooms of the palace, among them: Raffaele Albarini, Giorgio Anselmi, Francesco Primaticcio, Fermo Ghisoni, Giovan Francesco Penni, Gerolamo Staffieri, Benedetto Pagni, Rinaldo Mantovano, Giovan Battista Mantovano.

It seems that the villa was also painted on the outside. Still, the colors have disappeared while the internal frescoes remain, painted by Giulio Romano himself and by many other collaborators.

Spectacular halls inside, all frescoed. The Hall of the Giants. The Horse Room: with life-size portraits of the six favorite Gonzaga horses. Also The Hall of Love and Psyche. The Room of Eagles. The Hall of the Winds or the Zodiac. Also The Hall of Enterprises. The Room of the Sun and the Moon. And finally the Hall of the Emperors and so on.

Furthermore today, used for large exhibitions, some temporary and others permanent. Among the stable, we recommend the Egyptian Collection by Giuseppe Acerbi (1773-1846), the Consul General of Austria in Egypt from 1826 to 1834. He brought back to Italy, 500 pieces which, in 1840, he donated to the city of Mantua.