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Sabbioneta is a town and comune in the province of Mantua, Lombardy region, Northern Italy. It is situated about 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Parma, not far from the northern bank of the Po River. It was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2008.


Sabbioneta was founded by Vespasiano I Gonzaga in the late 16th century along the ancient Roman Via Vitelliana, on a sandy bank of the Po (whence the name, meaning "Sandy" in Italian); he was its first duke, using it as a personal fortress and residence.

Statue of the 1st Duke of Sabbioneta, 1577, Grandee of Spain, Viceroy of Navarre, 1572–75, and Viceroy of Valencia, 1575–78, in Spain. Named Vespasiano I Gonzaga (1531–91), he was buried at the Incoronata Church at Sabbioneta city, Italy. He became a knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1585.

It was also during this period that it became a minor musical centre; composers such as Benedetto Pallavicino were employed here by Vespasiano Gonzaga, prior to his moving to the main Gonzaga city of Mantua.

Main sights

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Galleria degli Antichi
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 1287
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)

In 2008, Sabbioneta was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a recognition of its perfect example of practical application of Renaissance urban planning theories.

Sabbioneta is also known for its historic Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue, and in particular for its Hebrew printing-press. In 1551 Tobias Foa set up the press; he had, however, published certain "anti-Christian books" and his career was "forcibly ended". His work and possibly his type were taken up by a Christian printer, Vicenzo Conte.

Vespasiano Gonzaga's town, designed according to the Renaissance principles of the Ideal City, included:

The church and the summer palace contain frescoes by artists of the Campi family of Cremona.

External links and references

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Sabbioneta (
  • Photo gallery made by a UNESCO photographer
  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain
  • Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna duca di Sabbioneta e cavaliere del Toson d'oro. Sabbioneta. (2001).
  • Luca Sarzi Amadè, Il duca di Sabbioneta: Guerre e amori di un europeo del XVI secolo ...

Paperback: 332 pages; Publisher: SugarCo (1990); ISBN 88-7198-040-9

  • Vespasiano Gonzaga e il ducato di Sabbioneta, [actes de la conferència, Sabbioneta-Mantova, 12-13 ottobre 1991], a cura de U. Bazzotti, Mantova (1993).
  • L. Ventura, Il collezionismo di un principe: la raccolta di marmi di Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna, (Modena), (1997).
  • Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna 1531-1591: l'uomo e le opere, actes del congrés d'estudis, Teatro olimpico di Sabbioneta, 5 de juny, 1999; a cura de E. Asinari, [Casalmaggiore] (1999).

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