Mantua Art City

Enrico Massetti
Mantua – Art City


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 impressive scenography of the Gonzaga period, the marvelous frescoes of the Mantegna family, the fabulous 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.

Mantova history

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.

It becomes a free commune in the XII and XIII centuries, continuing to grow while the unhealthy marsh by which it is surrounded is 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. In fact, 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.

This is a guide to the art city of Mantua for a visit lasting one, or more days.

A visit to the towns of Sabbioneta and Castellaro Lagusello and a description of the Flora and Fauna of Mantua Lakes are included.

There are extensive descriptions and photos of the attractions: museums, churches, piazzas.

There are descriptions of how to get to Mantua by train, driving, or flying to the city.

The guide is divided into sections covering short visits to the “must-see” attractions and an itinerary for a multi-day complete stop to all the attractions available.

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