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Mantua

Mantua is one of the most beautiful cities in Lombardy, rich in art and culture. Located in the lower part of the Po plain, Mantua sits on the banks of the river Mincio, where its waters form a deep bight which embraces the city and creates Lake Superiore, Lake di Mezzo and Lake Inferiore (Upper, Middle and Lower Lakes).

Mantua, seen from Lake Inferiore

History
The city was born as an Etruscan settlement which then passed on to the Cenomanian Gauls and subsequently to the Romans.
It became a possession of Canossa around the year one thousand and then a free commune, taking part in the Lombard leagues during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
A period of cultural and artistic flowering began with Luigi Gonzaga, Lord of Mantua in 1328. The Gonzaga name remained tied up with the fate of the city and of the duchy until 1360 when Mantua capitulated after the Austrian siege.
It was then annexed to the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia and the city struggled a long time for its independence and national unity, as its Risorgimento story narrates, a story marked by the tragic episode of the "Belfiore martyrs”.

  

What to see
Among the first things to be seen are the Ducal Palace and its 500 rooms which have been painted and decorated by artists such as Giulio Romano, Raphael and Mantegna. This beautiful place looks like a real city-palace extending over about 35,000 square metres, thanks to its numerous buildings linked by corridors and galleries, courtyards and gardens.
Near Piazza delle Erbe there are two other splendid buildings: Palazzo della Ragione and Palazzo del Podestà (1227), one of the oldest Medieval public buildings of the city.
Next to these two buildings do not miss the fifteenth century characteristic Torre dell’Orologio.
To the east we find the magnificent Palazzo Te, one of the most beautiful places in Mantua, surrounded by greenery and conceived as a place of leisure and high society life for Prince Federico II Gonzaga.
Religious buildings  include the Duomo (or Cattedrale di San Pietro), with its Romanesque bell tower, its gothic right side and neo-classical facade, and the Basilica of Sant' Andrea designed by Leon Battista Alberti, which houses works by Mantegna, Correggio and Giulio Romano. 

 

What to do
Full of priceless art treasures, Mantua, the birthplace of the poet Virgil, captivates with its aristocratic charm.
One of the best ways to see it is to travel by bike, observing every street which guards the traces of those powerful Gonzaga who so loved it, and who gave the town beautifully decorated palaces.
In addition to the city, the surrounding areas also have long and well maintained bike paths, which allow you to explore the urban and suburban fabric practically with no limits.
Do not miss visiting the beautiful Sabbioneta, a small urban jewel of inestimable value, created by the humanistic dream of Vespasian Gonzaga and which has become a UNESCO site along with Mantua. 

Useful Information

In-Lombardia
http://www.turismo.mantova.it/

How to get there
By train
Mantua Station, Piazza Don Leoni 

By plane
Verona Airport "Valerio Catullo"
Parma Airport "Giuseppe Verdi"
Bergamo Airport - Orio al Serio
Airport of Montichiari (Brescia), "Gabriele D'Annunzio" 

By ship
Across the river Mincio. The service is offered by Motonavi Andes motorboats