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Home of the Duke of Mantua and the first stop on our musical tour, the Ducal Palace, also known as the Gonzaga Palace, is the setting for the first and second acts of Rigoletto when the first events begin and the dances, pranks, and courtships bring cheer to the lord's life.
Here the magnificent interior rooms that provide the setting for the banquets, celebrations, and receptions are more than likely identified with the dwelling of Vincent I and the Sala dei Fiumi (Hall of Rivers).
With its private rooms, sumptuous gardens, squares and courtyards, the Ducal Palace in Mantua is one of the most iconic historical buildings in the city and one of the largest palaces in Europe, with its 3,500 square metres, 500 rooms, 7 gardens, and 8 courtyards.
Its masterpieces include Mantegna's Bridal Chamber, Raphael's tapestries and Pisanello's chivalric cycle. The official residence of the lords of Mantua since 1308 and then the main residence of the Gonzaga family, hosting the ruling Gonzaga of the time together with his family and important guests, it took on the official name of Palazzo Reale (the Royal Palace) only in the 18th century during the reign of Maria Theresa of Austria.
(Act 1, scene 1) A magnificent room in the Ducal Palace with doors at the back leading to other rooms, also splendidly lit... "Neither is any different
from the rest I see around me..." (the Duke)
(Act 2, scene 1) A drawing room in the Ducal Palace. There are two side doors, a larger one in the back which opens... "Courtiers, vile, damnable rabble, how much were you paid for my treasure?" (Rigoletto) [scene 4]