Gonzaga , a town of Italy, in the province and 15 m. S. of the city of Mantua; pop. about 15,000. It was formerly fortified, and is celebrated for its old castle, the cradle of the Gon-zaga family. Silk is manufactured here.
Gonzaga , an ancient Italian family which ruled over Mantua from 1328 to 1707. Its founder was Ludovico I. (died in 13G0), and his successors branched off into several lines, prominent among which were those of the dukes of Nevers and of Guastalla. Some of the rulers of Mantua were distinguished patrons of letters and art, and made their court one of the most brilliant in Italy. They intermarried with the Medici and the Estes, and a number of the ladies, especially Cecilia (born about 1424) and Luerezia (died 1576), were renowned for learning. Besides Ludovico III. (1444-'78), sur-named the Turk for fighting the Mussulmans, there were other gallant warriors in the family, and particularly Francesco II. (1484-1519) and Vincenzo I. (1587-1611); and celebrated as a cardinal from 1561 till his death (1566) was Francesco Gonzaga. On the extinction of the elder branch after the death of Vincenzo II. (1627), a war for the succession to the dominion of Mantua and other territories resulted in favor of Charles L, duke of Nevers. His daughter Maria became queen of Poland, and another daughter, Anna, wife of the count palatine Edward. The beauty and wit of the latter made her conspicuous in Paris at the court of Anne of Austria, and her memoirs were published in 1686. Charles IV., the last duke of Mantua (died in 1708), was dispossessed in 1707 by Austria for having sided with France in the war of the Spanish succession.
Savoy taking Montferrat. A collateral branch of the family still exists, the head of which (1874) is the marquis Guerrieri-Gonzaga, the largest land owner in the district of Gonzaga. - A pretender to the dominion over Mantua appeared in 1841, in a person styling himself Alessandro di Gonzaga, Prince Castiglione. He was a soldier of fortune, born in Dresden in 1799, and is described by some authorities as a Pole of the name of Murzynowski, and by others as a son of a Russian officer of Italian origin, and again as a son or brother of a French officer named Gonzague; and he was successively engaged in the French, Russian, and Spanish armies, and in the Polish revolution of 1830-31. In the latter part of his life he was arrested in Paris for selling decorations, and on being released after two years by Louis Napoleon, he went to London and died in 1869. He published Odes patriotiques, and several pamphlets and novels.