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Palazzo Te

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

Museum and exhibition center in Mantua, Palazzo Te is a masterpiece of late Renaissance architecture and art, designed and decorated by Giulio Romano in the early decades of the sixteenth century.

Contrary to what many think, the name of the building is not "Palazzo del Te" but simply "Palazzo Te"; Te in this case is a contraction of the ancient toponym "Teieto" which identified the islet on the Mincio river on which the palace was built. There are two most reliable hypotheses on the origin of teieto: it could derive from linden grove, in the sense of a grove of lime trees, or be connected to the medieval term tegia, or hut (from the Latin attitude).

“Among the most fascinating examples of monumental architecture in Italy, Palazzo Te was designed by Giulio Romano between 1524 and 1530 as a pleasure palace for Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua.”

Palazzo Te is now a public museum and exhibition center that regularly hosts exhibitions and special events. The museum presents four small collections of art and archeology; the Egyptian Collection presents about 500 finds from Ancient Egypt; the Mesopotamian Collection includes cuneiform inscriptions, amulets and votive statuettes from the ancient Near East; the Gonzaghesca Collection exhibits coins, medals, weights and measures from the 13th to the 18th century; the Mondadori Collection features late 19th century paintings by Federico Zandomeneghi and Armando Spadini.

The spaces once occupied by the citroniera now host temporary exhibitions of art and architecture, conferences and special events. Palazzo Te also offers guided tours for groups and schools and special itineraries for the visually impaired.

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