Gonzaga, place of origin of the family under whose rule the city of Mantua achieved its greatest splendour in art and culture in the fifteenth century, today it is known all over the world for the production of materials of a famous educational method: Montessori Method.
It all began with a meeting between Dr.Maria Montessori
and Donna Maria Maraini Guerrieri Gonzaga who opened a kindergarten in Palidano to give hospitality to the poorest children.
In 1907 she got to know the Montessori method and her kindergarten became the “Carlo Guerrieri Gonzaga Children’s House” in 1925.
Thanks to their meeting, the first production of Montessori Materials started according to the specifications given by Maria Montessori herself to Ernesto Bassoli’s workshop. Maria Montessori commissioned to them the materials, describing in detail how they should have been built. Materials had to be simple but attractive, prepared with attention to the smallest detail in order to allow the child to correct himself.
The artisans perfectly understood the sense underlying Maria Montessori’s request and showed such appreciation for the new educational method that they changed the company name to “Società Anonima per il Materiale Montessori”. The spread of the method and the subsequent opening of new schools helped the company to grow and expand, but during the Fascist period many schools were forced to close, while others survived, including the Children's House of Palidano.
Due to economic difficulties the "Società Anonima per il Materiale Montessori" had to close, but Cesare Baroni in 1945 founded the "Società Cooperativa Falegnami", with the aim to continue the production of materials and furnishing.
Gonzagarredi has always worked with the scientific support of highly qualified Montessorians: Giuliana Sorge, one of Maria Montessori’s disciples; Maria Antonietta Paolini, also one of Maria Montessori’s disciples and collaborators, and director of training of the International Montessori Centre of Perugia; Camillo Grazzini, director of training of the international Centre for Montessori Studies Foundation of Bergamo.
In 1963, Cesare Baroni and Giuseppe Marangon started a new company “Baroni e Marangon” which in 1975 became “Gonzagarredi”. Under this name the company became internationally known, giving an important contribution to the diffusion of the Montessori Material throughout the world.