Situated in the lower Po Valley, Mantua lies on the banks of the River Mincio, where its waters form a wide curve that embraces the city and creates…
Situated in thelower Po Valley, Mantua lies on the banks of the River Mincio, where its waters form a wide curve that embraces the city and creates the lake Superiore, lake Mezzo and lake Inferiore.
Originally an Etruscan settlement, the city passed to the Cenomanian Gauls and then to the Romans.
It became property of the Canossa family around the year 1000 and then a free town, being part of the Lombard Leagues in the 12th and 13th centuries.
It was with Luigi Gonzaga, Lord of Mantua from 1328, that a period of cultural and artistic prosperity began. The name of the Gonzaga family remained linked to the fate of the town and the duchy until 1360, when Mantua yielded after being besieged by the Austrians.
The city was part of the Lombard-Venetian Reign and fought for a long time for independence and national unity, as recounted in its Risorgimento history, marked by the tragic episode of the "Belfiore martyrs".
Among the first things to see are the Palazzo Ducale and its 500 rooms with frescoes and decorations by artists such as Giulio Romano, Raphael and Mantegna. Its numerous buildings linked by corridors and galleries, its courtyards and gardens make this beautiful place resemble a true palace city covering some 35,000 square metres.
Near Piazza delle Erbe there are two other splendid buildings: Palazzo della Ragione andPalazzo del Podestà(1227), one of the oldest medieval public buildings in the city.
Don't miss the characteristic 15th-century Clock Towersituated next to the two buildings.
In the eastern area stands the magnificent Palazzo Te, one of the most beautiful places in Mantua, surrounded by greenery and designed as a place of leisure and entertainment for Prince Federico II Gonzaga.
Religious monuments include the Duomo(or the Cattedrale di San Pietro), with its Romanesque bell tower, Gothic right wing and neoclassical façade, and the Basilica di Sant’Andrea designed by Leon Battista Alberti, which houses works by Mantegna, Correggio and Giulio Romano.
How to get to Mantua:
- By bus A.P.A.M. - Route 46, from the bus stop in Via Circonvallazione Sud - Cost of ticket: 4 euros - Journey time: 1 hour