Mantova (Lombardy) is a town of 49.308 inhabitants, located 19 meters above sea level in the homonymous province, its territory covers an area of 64,00 sq km.
Who arrives to Mantova is struck by its charm unchanged over time, the unique and welcoming atmosphere that you breathe.
A city that takes your breath away when you admire it from the shores of the lakes.
From here it appears as if suspended on the water, the protagonist of an almost surreal landscape, made of history, art and nature.
Mantova is not meant to be visited quickly.
The squares, the alleys, the pebbles invite the visitor to slowly admire every monument and every historical palace of this declared city UNESCO World Heritage Site together with the nearby Sabbioneta.
In Mantua, history, art, culture they intertwine inexorably everywhere.
And all around an environment of inestimable naturalistic value.
Unique and magical places that make Mantua a simply wonderful city.
A CITY WITH OVER TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY
Legend has it that the foundation of the city took place by the hand of the Greek fortune "Manto"And that we owe her the name of Mantova; more likely the origins of the name are to be attributed to the infernal Etruscan divinity "Mantu", With reference to the ancient Etruscan settlements on the territory of Mantua, as testified by the neighbor archaeological site of the Forcello (in the locality Bagnolo San Vito).
The Etruscan city of Mantova it occupied an island area that emerged from the Mincio, corresponding to slightly more than the current one Piazza Sordello; because of its elevated position, this space has been inhabited even in Roman times.
This is evidenced by the recent findings in Piazza Sordello of perimeter walls and mosaics of a "Roman Domus", Together with numerous other finds preserved at the National archeologic museum.
From the farthest past of Mantua they come "lovers", Neolithic skeletons found buried embraced In the resort Valdaro, near the city, and now exhibited at the National archeologic museum.
The discovery has had a strong impact in the collective imagination even outside Italy.
THE RENAISSANCE IN MANTOVA
I Gonzaga they became Lords of Mantua in the 1328, after having expelled the Bonacolsi family.
To them we owe a new urban expansion and the wonderful artistic flowering of Mantua.
Under the dominion of the Marquis Ludovico II began "renovatio urbis".
Many artists worked to modernize and embellish the city, including Andrea Mantegna, who painted for the Marquis la Picta Room o "Camera degli Sposi", is Leon Battista Alberti, who designed the remake of the Basilica of St. Andrew and the construction of the Temple of San Sebastiano in the area of Renaissance expansion, in front of the island of Te, where it will rise later Palazzo Te, villa of delights, work of Giulio Romano.
Every building that rises in the area outside the oldest part of the city must exalt the Lordship, including service places like the sixteenth century Pescherie, designed by Giulio Romano, intended for the fish trade.
In this period the court is enriched with works by famous contemporary artists and classical finds that constitute the city's artistic collections.
Testimonies of the same are still visible at Museum of the City di Palazzo San Sebastiano, to Diocesan Museum and Museo di Palazzo Ducale.
Important examples of Renaissance urban architecture are: the Casa-shop of the Mercante Boniforte, in Piazza Erbe, in Venetian Gothic style; there Casa-bottega del Viani, in Piazza Marconi, which preserves the fifteenth-century painted façade of the Mantegna school, almost entirely survived; there Casa del Mantegna of rigorous geometric volume with inside the courtyard with a particular circular plan, currently an exhibition site; there House of Giulio Romano (can not be visited internally).
THE DIMORE OF THE PRINCIPLES
I Gonzaga they lived in prestigious residences.
The oldest and most complex from an architectural point of view is Ducal Palace which, with its magnificent halls, the numerous buildings connected by corridors and galleries, courtyards, squares, gardens, one of which is hanging, it is one of the largest estates in Europe.
Official residence of the Lords of Mantua until the seventeenth century, the complex has undergone changes and adaptations to the aesthetic taste of different eras.
It hosts masterpieces of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries as the rooms with the "knightly cycle" of Pisanello, the "Camera degli Sposi" of Mantegna inside the Castle of St. George, the precious work of cabinet-making in the Studiolo of Isabella d'Este in Corte Vecchia, the Troia Apartment created by Giulio Romano in New Court, the complete cycle of Flemish tapestries woven on Raphael cartoons.
At the opposite pole of the city are the private and representative residences of the Gonzaga.
Palazzo di San Sebastiano, built in the early sixteenth century at the behest of Francis II, housed the nine paintings that form "The Triumph of Caesar" by Mantegna, now kept at Hampton Court (London).
The building is home to the Museum of the City and houses works that tell the emblematic moments of the Mantuan civilization.
Palazzo Te, wanted by Federico II, was the palace of the honest ocio, where the prince could find intellectual relief.
Absolute masterpiece of Giulio Romano, built between the 1525 and the 1535, the building houses inside the Hall of Horses, dedicated to the precious horses that the Gonzaga breed, the Room of Love and Psyche designed to accommodate the most distinguished guests for banquets and dinners and the Room of the Giants, from the amazing acoustic and visual effects, realized in honor of the emperor Charles V who had granted Federico the title of duke.
RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS AND SACRED ART
Of great importance from the artistic and architectural point of view are numerous Mantuan churches.
To be noted, in the area of the historic center, the Duomo (Cathedral of St. Peter) built in the eleventh century, restored after a fire in the fourteenth century and restored inside on a project by Giulio Romano in the sixteenth century.
In the 1756 Nicolò Baschiera replaced the medieval late Gothic facade with the present of late Baroque forms.
Within the monumental complex of Ducal Palace, is located the Palatine Basilica of Santa Barbara, commissioned by the Duke William for the religious services of the court and built on a project by the Mantuan architect Giovanni Battista Bertani in the second half of the sixteenth century.
The church, designed to enhance every type of sound with optimal acoustics, preserves the extraordinary organ of Graziadio Antegnati of 1565.
In the center of the city rises the Basilica of St. Andrew, masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, designed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1472 and finished in 1765 with the inclusion of the dome to a design by Filippo Juvarra.
The basilica, built on the church of an ancient Benedictine complex, houses the funeral chapel of the Mantegna.
On the back, in Piazza Leon Battista Alberti, what remains of the cloister and of the Benedictine monastery is visible.
Important and valuable examples of sacred art are preserved in the Francesco Gonzaga Diocesan Museum, in Piazza Virgiliana.
The museum also houses masterpieces of painting, precious French tapestries and enamels, works of jewelery from the Gonzaga house and an exceptional collection of Renaissance armor from the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace.
CITY TO LIVE
To get to know each other Mantova it is necessary to enter its living tissue, follow it all discovering its most hidden details, passing from one portico to another, from one square to another and peering inside the palaces, the splendid and unexpected historic gardens.
Live Mantua means knowing its inhabitants, attending meeting places, walk along the lakefront, go to the theater, attend concerts in palaces and city squares, shopping in shops, markets and taste the dishes of the Mantuan cuisine.
The institutions and cultural associations of Mantua organize events, shows, concerts, conferences and exhibitions throughout the year in the symbolic places of the city, which become the protagonists of a continuous dialogue between ancient beauty and modernity of cultural languages.
With its numerous parks and gardens, the Belfiore Park, the Periurban Park, the Virgilian Woods and the Vecchi and Nuovi gardens of Belfiore by Giuseppe Roda, the Valentini gardens, the Lungorio IV Novembre garden, Piazza Lega Lombarda, Piazza Virgiliana, the city also allows pleasant moments of relaxation in the open air and refreshment.
For lovers of curiosities and antiques, every third Sunday of the month, the antiques market.
Also noteworthy is the weekly Thursday market in the historic center and the Saturday morning farmer's on the Lungorio, adjacent to the fishmongers, where it is possible to buy, directly from the producers, cheeses, fresh pasta and other typical products.
Due to the richness and size of its cultural and monumental heritage, Mantua requires a stay of several days.
Only in this way is it possible to immerse yourself in the cozy atmosphere of this city with Renaissance charm that can excite the visitor.
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"Mantua- simply wonderful"
Sector of Culture, Tourism and Promotion of the City