The Storied Past of the Palazzo d’Arco

Palazzo d’Arco is an elegant neoclassical palace in Mantua, in the Lombardy region of Italy. The grand establishment holds a fine collection of paintings and artifacts that date back to the 17th century. Through the years, Palazzo d’Arco has undergone many transformations to achieve its current status as a cultural gem.

It is believed the Palazzo d’Arco was established in the 12th century. After the expansion of the city was completed, the Desenzani family took up residence in the palace. They were involved in the assassination of Bishop Guidotto and were soon driven from the city and the palace was destroyed.

The palazzo was later rebuilt by the Tosabezzi family and in 1601, Alessandro Gonzaga took ownership of most of the palace, with a small part being sold to Giovan Francesco Cortona. Alessandro died without any heirs, leaving the palace to his wife’s family, the Strozzi.

Cortona was accused of murder soon after Alessandro’s death, and was condemned. He wrote a petition to the Duke Vincenzo, promising the donation of his property for his freedom.

Meanwhile, one of the daughters of the late Alessandro Gonzaga married the Marquis Francesco Gonzaga Rolando Valle, who regained the property of her father, which at that time belonged to the Strozzi family.

In 1729, Hannibal Chieppio, who also owned a section of the palace, died leaving his part to his brother, with the obligation to leave everything to their sister in case of death without heirs, which happened in 1740.

In 1872 Francesco Antonio d’Arco purchased and enlarged the building to the current total extension of 8,000 square meters.

In the 20th century, the building was damaged due to bombings during World War II, but was restored between 1946 and 1960.

The palace was transformed into its current state—a museum—in accordance with the will of Giovanna dei conti d’Arco, who became marchesa Guidi di Bagno upon her marriage. She left the palace and its contents to the city, as evidenced by a plaque in the atrium of the building.

The Palazzo d’Arco currently run by a foundation that has preserved the charm of this aristocratic home.

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