Mantua and Sabbioneta
Mantua and Sabbioneta, in the Po valley, in the north of Italy, represent two aspects of Renaissance town planning: Mantua shows the renewal and extension of an existing city, while 30 km away, Sabbioneta represents the implementation of the period’s theories about planning the ideal city. Typically, Mantua’s layout is irregular with regular parts showing different stages of its growth since the Roman period and includes many medieval edifices among them an 11th century rotunda and a Baroque theatre. Sabbioneta, created in the second half of the 16th century under the rule of one person, Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, can be described as a single-period city and has a right angle grid layout. Both cities offer exceptional testimonies to the urban, architectural and artistic realizations of the Renaissance, linked through the visions and actions of the ruling Gonzaga family. The two towns are important for the value of their architecture and for their prominent role in the dissemination of Renaissance culture. The ideals of the Renaissance, fostered by the Gonzaga family, are present in the towns’ morphology and architecture.
Outstanding Universal Value
Mantua and Sabbioneta offer exceptional testimonies to the urban, architectural and artistic realizations of the Renaissance, linked through the visions and actions of the ruling Gonzaga family. Mantua, a town whose traces stem from the Roman period, was renovated in the 15th and 16th centuries – including hydrological engineering, urban and architectural works. The participation of renowned architects like Leon Battista Alberti and Giulio Romano, and painters like Andrea Mantegna, makes Mantua a prominent capital of the Renaissance. Sabbioneta represents the construction of an entirely new town according to the modern, functional vision of the Renaissance. The defensive walls, grid pattern of streets, role of public spaces and monuments all make Sabbioneta one of the best examples of ideal cities built in Europe, with an influence over urbanism and architecture in and outside the continent. The properties represent two significant stages of territorial planning and urban interventions undertaken by the Gonzagas in their domains.
Criterion (ii): Mantua and Sabbioneta are exceptional witnesses to the interchange of human values of the Renaissance culture. They illustrate the two main forms of Renaissance town planning: the newly founded town, based on the concept of ideal city planning, and the transformed existing town. Their importance relates also to architecture, technology and monu¬mental art. The properties have played a prominent role in the diffusion of the Renaissance culture in and outside Europe.
Criterion (iii): Mantua and Sabbioneta are exceptional testimonies to a particular civilization during a specific period of history, with reflections on urbanism, architecture and fine arts. The ideals of the Renaissance, fostered by the Gonzaga family, are present in their urban morphology and architecture, their functional systems and traditional productive activities, which have mostly been preserved over time.
Both properties meet the required conditions of integrity and authenticity, since their most significant urban and architectural components have been preserved over time, as has their relationship with their settings.
The legal protective structure and management system are adequate, as both properties exhibit a good state of conservation.