A place of wonder: Palazzo Te


To the south of the city is an area once known by the name "Te". This strange name, which has nothing whatsoever to do with tea, became world famous, and is bound to one of the most outstanding examples of Mantova' s artistic heritage in the glory of Giulio Romano. There are still many question marks over the origins of the name of this zone, and there are several accounts, although none is reliable. The name may be an abbreviation, dating back to the fourteenth century, of the word "tejeto", which referred to a group of thatched peasant cottages found in the area , and called "Teje" or "Tezze".

Front view with frescoes

Because these rustic buildings were found dispersed around the entire zone, it was called "Tejeto". In realty there was very little, just marshes, and it is here that the marquis, Francesco IV ordered the stables for his famous breed of horses to be built. Perhaps for its vicinity to the city, perhaps for some other reason, Federico, (the first duke of the nobility cast ) chose this site for Guilio Romano to build a delightful villa: the future Palazzo Te. Work on the palace began in 1525 and ended ten years later. Giulio Romano was then on the crest of a wave; he was the chief representative of the new artistic vogue of the age, and with his work the palace became the architectonic jewel that is now famous throughout the world.

With Pippi, Primaticcio, Benedetto Pagni da Pescia, Briziano work started on the splendid building and Giulio Romano's right hand man, Rinaldo Mantovano, traced the drawings designed by Giulio Romano onto the walls. Recently restored, the palace can now be seen in perfect condition.

Palazzo Te is not to be missed and many art exhibitions are held there, attracting large crowds of tourists. But the places to visit do not end here; the above is just a quick glimpse of the town and the city has many other attractions: more than one quick visit is advisable even in today's busy world, and is certain to leave the visitor enthralled and contented. True art never disappoints.

Luigi Pescasio

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