A Theatrical Organizer and Playwright in Mantua at the Gonzaga Court: Gabriele Bertazzolo Author of "La Gonzaga"

Starting date
October 1, 2020
Duration (months)
Cultures and Civilizations
Managers or local contacts
Brunetti Simona , Mancini Leonardo

Starting from the end of the 15th century, Mantua, ruled by the Gonzaga family since the 14th century, became a fundamental reference point for the history of the arts. In fact, they were extraordinary patrons of music, theatre, dance, figurative arts and Commedia dell’Arte. Among the personalities associated with the Mantuan Court, in this research we intend to investigate in particular the activity of Gabriele Bertazzolo (Mantova, 1570-1626). Though he is already well known to performing arts historians as an architect, hydraulic engineer and set designer, his activity as a theatrical author deserves to be investigated in detail. Engaged in festivals organized on the occasion of various weddings, either in Mantua, in Florence or in Casale Monferrato (AL), in his works, letters written to the Court and in his numerous printed descriptions Bertazzolo stands as an important witness of Italian Renaissance theatre. In his extensive relationship with the performances staged at the court of the Gonzaga family, however, the aspect that obtained minor attention by scholars is precisely his playwright activity. In 1611, for example, he composed the still unpublished dramatic work "La Gonzaga", which manuscript is kept in the Teresian Library in Mantua.
Through the analysis of archival sources, kept mainly in libraries and state archives of Mantua, Turin and Florence, the TOPICGOAL project intends to expand the studies conducted so far on Bertazzolo’s activities investigating its dramatic production, on the one hand, highlighting its relationships with the important theatrical personalities of his time, on the other. More specifically we intend to publish a commented edition of "La Gonzaga", starting from the manuscript, and discover its “raison d'être”. To do this it will also be necessary to refine the research on the documentary material relating to the theatrical activity of the author and of all the personalities related to him. Therefore, an essential tool for research will be the Herla database of the Artioli Foundation, which contains more than 12,000 cataloged documents on the spectacular activity of the Gonzaga family from 1480 to 1630; archive in which new data relating to the documents found during the search will also flow.


Funds: assigned and managed by the department

Project participants

Collaboratori esterni

Federica Veratelli
Università di Parma Professore Associato
Research areas involved in the project
Discipline dello Spettacolo
Visual and performing arts, design, arts-based research
Title Authors Year
Gabriele Bertazzolo, "La Gonzaga", opera drammatica rappresentante l'origine de' signori Gonzaghi nel dominio di Mantova, Edizione critica,note e saggio introduttivo di Leonardo Mancini Brunetti, S. 2023


Research facilities