Sabbioneta and Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna
Two halves of a legend
Sabbioneta. A sacred place and a crucible of history; even a fleeting encounter with this place goes deep into the heart and the mind, triggering a desire to know more, a kind of curiosity that throws open the doors of knowledge, but ultimately turns into love. And perhaps - who knows?- into passion.
Sabbioneta. The cradle of bold and vibrant dreams, of hopeful fortunes and bitter disillusions, of sunny afternoons and chill foggy dawns, sublime temple to art and gracefulness, custodian of the memory of a prince who distilled his legendary time on earth into the eternal myth of a city.
Sabbioneta. A place shaken by perennial and life-giving emotion, by a subtle anxiety, by the inexhaustible breath of art, architecture and history. Long-sought place of loving pilgrimage, of sweet enchantments and warm embrace. A city populated by ghosts; elusive yet perceptible. And also by mysterious shining dreams that reverberate in the walls, the houses, the palaces of power and pleasure, reminding the stunned visitor that he - the founder, Vespasiano Gonzaga Colonna - is here. Always.
And at the heart, in this treasure chest, his tired and worn-out bones bear witness to the untarnished legend: here, in the silence of a church of extraordinary beauty, lie the remains of a man whose life and achievements obnubilate those of more titled, numerous and long-lived ancestries.
What task could be more arduous, but at the same time more gratifying, than conveying to generous-hearted visitors the meaning, the soft glow or dazzling splendour of a period that lives on in the immortal signs of a man and a city?
Narrating Sabbioneta by exploring every nook and cranny. Recounting a legend by locating it, penetrating it and making it our own. And more: feeding on it.
This is the magic key for an interpretation that reveals the mystery: that Sabbioneta is art and history, but also nature and gastronomy, so the tranquil countryside, the screech of the jays or the aroma and flavour of a steaming dish of marubini pasta, go hand in hand with the emotional impact of the astonishing "Parade" of sculptures in the Ducal Palace.
And what's more: Sabbioneta is meticulous architectural analysis but also in-depth anthropology; it is the "ideal city" of the Renaissance, "Novella Roma", a temple of ecstatic bliss and strong, lasting emotion, unfiltered, neither sedimented nor faded.
The interventions described below can be identified as cultural motivation and a desire to offer visitors a tool free from ancient, anachronistic and tawdry information; geared instead to the recovery of a dimension of relating everyday routine that originates in history, and which today becomes a mirror of truth, without hypocrisy, forcing or delusion.
Yes. The city travelled. As we explore, in all its angularity and anxieties, the ghost of a man who knew how to be great even while bending the knee to evil fortune, which condemned him to the most shocking bitterness, the most lacerating sorrow.
But that's about the past. And Sabbioneta is the present, in many ways the future too.