The current appearance of the building takes shape from 1634, when the ancient and massive castle was turned into a ducal residence, a prestigious place to be used for summer holidays and as a venue for official representation of the court. The patronage of the reconstruction and decoration is up to Francis I d'Este, the duke, after the loss of Ferrara in 1598, created the new image of Modena state capital and reported on the European political scene the Este Duchy of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
The palace, also called "Delight" for its architecture embellished with fountains and surrounded by green spaces, for the beauty of the decorations in its environments and the successful inclusion in the wide valley of the Secchia, It is a jewel of Baroque culture from North Italy.
The rooms were painted by an 'extraordinary team of artists who well interpreted ambitious spirit and mecenatistico of Francis I, including the French Jean Boulanger, official painter of the Este court and some of the greatest painters of Bologna quadraturisti as Angelo Michele Colonna and Agostino Mitelli and a large number of skilled decorators and modellers, including Luca Colombi and Lattanzio Male. In the walls and ceilings of the rooms intertwine allegorical themes and episodes of the Este history, meet mythological heroes and classical literature and chivalry, all united to express the exciting program of the nobility and "good governance" Este. Illustrations are included in "quadrature": one of the most successful architectural evidence of deception. A carefully designed prospective effect and a surprising proliferation of virtual spaces that shows how high the passion for the ability of artificially imitating painting materials and nature.
In the grand palace complex, which also are part of the palace chapel dedicated to St. Francis and the magnificent Peschiera, They worked over the Roman architect Bartolomeo Avanzini, inspired in the structural renewal and baroque decorative solutions from the famous Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Also renowned designers, especially the cheese Gaspare Vigarani, Also active at the court of Louis XIV.
The recovery of the Palace, until now achieved thanks to an intense work of restoration and museum exhibition, allows full use of the area decorated the main floor. On the main floor is accessed by staircase D'Onor and you can visit 27 environments originally intended for family members, the Ducal Apartments: the Bacchus Gallery, the apartment of the Duke, the Guards' Hall, the stuccoed apartment, the apartment of the Duchess and, partly, ground floor, the Giants Apartment.
The Palazzo Ducale in Sassuolo belongs to the Ministry of Heritage and Culture Superintendence for the Historical, Anthropological Heritage for the provinces of Modena and Reggio Emilia