Since 1308, Palazzo Ducale of Mantua has been the official residence of the lords of Mantua, first descendants of the Bonacolsi family, and then of the Gonzagas, lords, marquises and finally dukes of the Virgilian city.
The building instead took the name of the Royal Palace during the Austrian domination, starting from the time of Maria Theresa of Austria.
The area covered by the Palace measures more than 35,000 square meters, divided into 500 rooms, 7 gardens and 8 courtyards: it is one of the largest palaces in Europe, so much so that it can be described as a “city – palace”.
The old courtyard represents the oldest nucleus, consisting of the medieval buildings of the Palazzo del Capitano and the Magna Domus overlooking piazza Sordello; while the new court was built in 1536 by the architect Giulio Romano at the behest of Duke Federico II Gonzaga.
In 1506 Andrea Mantegna created the famous Camera Picta or Camera degli Sposi inside the Castle of San Giorgio.