It’s a time of upheaval, when the Middle Ages end and modernity is born. For those in the government, the situation is ripe for action. Your city must maintain its standing, and you, as its prince, must make this happen.
Virtù takes place during the Italian Renaissance, with each player embodying one of the powerful Italian cities of the time and trying to make it more powerful than all others through "virtù", the ability to accomplish great things through a strong state (according to Machiavelli).
The foundation of the game is "wheelbuilding", that is, creating a "wheel of actions" on your personal player board, which has a unique arrangement compared to other players and with you having a different set of starting family cards. Depending on how you place the cards, you have multiple options available and a starting strategy, but you can acquire and place new cards to alter your approach over the course of the game. You interact with others indirectly by taking cards they want or racing to goals or directly by sending agents to the palace or their cities as well as by attacking cities. Artists, merchants, and diplomats can also work to increase your prestige.
Virtù includes a two-player mode that is played differently from the game with 3-5 players.