Town in the province of Mantua, nestled in the inland of the Moraine hills, South of Lake Garda, Castiglione is, an important agricultural and industrial center, located a short distance from Desenzano. Its present appearance of an elegant city is the result of the hard work of the Gonzaga family, a member of which, Luigi Gonzaga, born here in 1568, was proclaimed Saint in 1726, remaining revered as "Saint of Youth". Castiglione is also known as the seat of the foundation of the Red Cross, thanks to the courage of the women of Castiglione in bringing first aid to victims of the Battle of Solferino in 1859.
The city's origins date back to Etruscan times, after the barbarian invasions and domination of the Lombards (568 to 774 A.D.) began a period that saw Castiglione at the center of strife for its possession between the families of Gonzaga, of Visconti and of Scaligeri . In 1478 the city became the fief of the Marquis Ferrante Gonzaga and it was proclaimed "principality" of his empire. The Battle of Castiglione (1796) marked the beginning of Austrian rule, while the battle of Solferino (1859) marked the end of it.
Not to miss:
- the Basilica of St. Louis, in the old square in the historic center, is dedicated to the Saint who was born here on March 9, 1568. The building, begun in 1612, was completed during the XVIII century in an elegant and sumptuous Baroque style. The interior is adorned with fine works of art, including a cycle of frescoes representing key moments in the life of the Saint, stucco, paintings, chapels and a silver urn, which features the skull of the city's patron saint.
- the Castle, a summer residence of the Gonzaga, was built originally for defensive purposes during the period of the barbarian invasions (VII-IX century). In 1706, with the War of Spanish Succession, the castle was destroyed by the French. Of the ancient manor, remains only the entrance tower and parts of the perimeter walls with a tower.
- the XV century District Court, once the seat of the vicariate under the Gonzaga;
- the XVIII century Palazzo Longhi, seat of the Museum of the Red Cross;
- the Cathedral of Saints Nazario and Celso, an imposing late-baroque building, built on an existing building of the XVI century. Inside, it preserves an altarpiece by the Sicilian painter Pietro Novelli and a painting by Procaccini.
- the Parco Pastore, adjoins the XVIII century building with the same name and today houses the municipal library;
- the Noble College of the Virgins of Jesus, an important and elegant XVI century construction, located between the Basilica of St. Vincent and the road that leads to the Cathedral. It was founded in 1608 by three grandsons of the Saint. The first floor houses the Museum Aloisiano with important paintings of this artist, related to St. Louis, as well as memorabilia, documents and various ornaments.