Mantua – A Complete Guide
Mantova (Mantua), the capital of Matilde di Canossa and the Gonzaga family, is an enchanted island surrounded by three lakes formed by the Mincio. The Gonzaga period’s monumental scenography, the marvelous frescoes of the Mantegna family, the splendid inventions of Giulio Romano in the Tea Palace, the churches, the patrician houses narrate the history.
A few kilometers from Mantova, we can admire the beautiful Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine alle Grazie, the Benedictine Abbey of Polirone, in San Benedetto Po, the small village parishes, and the old courts. Mirage in the fertile countryside is Sabbioneta, the “small Athens” of Vespasiano Gonzaga.
According to legend, the town was founded by the soothsayer Manto when he fled from Thebes; Mantua enters history with the Etruscans. It goes from Roman rule to the barbarian invasions until around 1000 A.D. it becomes part of the feudal dominions of the Canossa.
Mantua becomes a free commune in the XII and XIII centuries, continuing to grow while the unhealthy marsh surrounded, drained, and reclaimed. In 1237 Pinamonte Bonacolsi came to power and consolidated its economic prosperity until 1328 when control passes to Luigi Gonzaga, founder of the dynasty to which Mantua owes most of its artistic beauty.
Under Gonzaga’s rule, Mantua becomes notably more critical politically, enjoys economic prosperity, and is acknowledged as a primary center of culture and Renaissance art. The family residence soon becomes one of the largest and most magnificent palaces in Europe.
It is a guide to the art city of Mantua for a visit lasting one, two, three, or more days. There are extensive descriptions and color photos of the attractions: museums, churches, piazzas. There are descriptions of how to get to Mantua, by train, by driving or flying to the city. The guide consists of sections covering short visits to the “must-see” attractions and an itinerary for a multi-day complete tour of all the attractions available.
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