An agricultural town in the province of Mantua, on the border with Emilia Romagna, Gonzaga is known for being the birthplace of the Corradi family, that changed their surname to Gonzaga, once they took over the rule of Mantua in the Middle Ages. The village lies in an area inhabited by the Etruscans since the XVI century B.C. and, subsequently, by the Gauls in the IV century B.C. who were defeated by the Romans during the battle of Casteggio. In 218 B.C. the Gauls regained their lands, but were finally defeated in 191 B.C. After the fall of the Roman Empire it was subject to raids, looting and robberies until the X century. Before the year 1000, the Court of Gonzaga included just a small fortress and a chapel, but certain traces are scarce and fragmented, due to the repeated barbarian incursions. The only certain fact is that the owners of this Court of Gonzaga were the Canossa family of Lombard origin, to whom the construction of the Benedictine monastery, runned by the Abbot of Polirone, is attributed. In the XV century, the Court of Gonzaga became the Summer residence of the noble family of the same name of Mantua origins. In 1707 the Duke of Mantua was deposed for having given support to the French and having come less to the its neutrality treaty with the Emperor of Austria. The Duchy found itself under the control of Austria and in 1717 the castle was demolished and its stones were used for the construction of the fortress of Mantua.
Not to miss:
- The two towers of the XV century, located in the main square, the only remains of an ancient castle. The largest, built in the XVI century, is one of the most important examples of the Mantua Renaissance style;
- The Parish of St. Benedict, which dates back to 1082, built next to the monastery founded by the Canossa in the XI century and donated to the Abbey of Polirone. The building was radically transformed in the Renaissance (except for the neo-Romanesque façade of 1925) and preserves four interior columns with their original bricks and cubic capitals;
- The Convent of Santa Maria, built in the XV century by Francesco II Gonzaga, with the late-Gothic cloister.
Among the most significant town's events and festivals, worth of mention is the millennium Gonzaga Fair, held every year between the first and second Sunday of September, which already in the XVI century drew a great multitude of people from all the surrounding areas.