The Gonzaga

The Gonzaga and Lake Garda. The relations of the Duchi family of Mantua with the nearby Lake Garda and the Magnifica Patria.

Fausto Lechi in its “Dimore bresciane, cinque secoli di storia” tells us: “The Gonzagas, and with them all the Mantovans, have always quarded with love to Lake Garda, Lake Virgilio; it was the great Isabella who started the restful stops on the bright Riviera in 1490, but the possibility of owning those countries “so longed for by the Gonzagas as an indispensable outlet for Mantua on the lake” always remained a dream for her, superb dreamer from the motto: FOR A DESIR, and for her many different descendants. The Serenissima he jealously guarded to keep his corridor intact towards the western mainland provinces. The Duke William on the lake made long stops, between Toscolano and Maderno, but his son Vincenzo was “great scialacquer …. always wrapped between luxury and loves” that he began his purchases in Maderno in 1594 and continued them in the following years until he had in 1602 five houses and several pieces of land in the place where the building had to rise with its adjacencies. Copious historical notes can be read in a small volume by Guido Lonati and in a very detailed manuscript by Claudio Fossati.From these we can summarize that the complex of Gonzaga buildings was formed by an old building (the first source north of the flyover in the middle quarter) from the actual building (south of said overpass) surrounded by vast “serragli”, but of which there are only ruined walls and included in more recent factories “poor factory stub” as defined by Lonati; and finally the ancient convent of the servants on the hill, reduced to a building. Today’s garden, which descends from the hill to the side of the villa we have described (palace Bulgheroni), it is not that the rest, which has undergone many modifications, of the ancient “gardens” that descended to join the large garden, filled with all the flowers and Mediterranean essences that grow in the mild climate of the Riviera, which then reached the shore of the lake. Refer to the two very interesting writings that we mentioned, readers who wanted to know how the Gonzaga palaces were formed, what life of luxury pleasures and revelries spent the dukes of Mantua of the last generations until the extinction of the family, since 1612 in 1708 by Vincenzo, the first builder to Ferdinando Carlo the last, who died in Padua, consumed by the extravagances. The buildings had been abandoned for several years and then the first destruction during the war of Monferrato, the sack of Mantua and the 1630 mash, but they were restored by Duke Charles II to fall in abandonment with the end of 1708. The assets of the Gonzaga were broken up and passed into various properties until the major part came into the hands of a rich merchant of Toscolano Bortolo Candellini in 1724. He then returned a period of relative splendor to the palaces and it was in those years of breath that they were visited from Lady Montague who drew one of her usual emphatic descriptions. It tells us however that in that year “a riche negotiant the entreetient dans sa beauté” that the garden “est dans le genre de ceux de Lenotre (none other)” and the furniture is of the best taste of Paris. Note that in an inventory of 1707 there is no mention of destruction. There is however, in this inventory, a very interesting piece of information which concerns, we believe, the building that we have described in this sheet. At the end of the inventory it is said that “the house that borders the new building of S.A. has remained unharmed. Serenissima, the municipal road and the garden …” Was the Candellini to save this house? It is very likely. It was for some lucky occasion that the house did not follow the fate of the buildings and was saved. Because the buildings, after the ruin of the Candellini, passed again in various hands until the “new” building, the most important, fell into those fatal of dr. Ghiselli who, in 1819 “finding himself somewhat mentally ill” almost completely demolished him in the hope of finding some kind of treasure. Ghiselli was ruined and those poor remains were bought in 1894 by an English lady, Mary Colley Morice, who perhaps hoped to restore part of the building. But nothing came of it. There is nothing like a beautiful house that has never been of the Gonzagas. Currently the villa is owned by Bulgheroni.