Warstall in Lombard, Guardistallum in Latin, the city’s original role is very clear: a place of guard, a strategic point of control of the Po River.
But Guastalla owes its beauty and glory to Ferrante I of Gonzaga, amongst the best captains at the service of emperor Charles V, and his son Cesare, who wanted the feud to be worthy of his powerful family.
The renovation of the city was entrusted to “il Volterra” (Domenico Giunti), who projected a perfect example of Renaissance ideal town: a crisscrossed layout of proportioned, regular streets contained within a pentagonal ring of walls with the two main roads shaped as a cross having one church at each axis as a symbol of a town of faith.
To testify the contribution and power of the house of Gonzaga, the symbol of the city is indeed the bronze statue of Ferrante Gonzaga in Piazza Mazzini, just in front of Palazzo Ducale (1567), which in former times hosted the great poet Torquato Tasso.
Of great interest is also the collection of ancient books of the Maldotti Library and the sumptuous baroque interior of the sanctuary of the Madonna della Porta; just outside the city, the beautiful Romanesque oratory of S.Giorgio and the 9th century Basilica of the Pieve, with remains of medieval and Renaissance frescoes, are also worth a visit.