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Gita di un giorno a Mantova
16 Jun

One day fied trip to Mantova

Every angle of the Como lake has its wonders and particular beauties, but if you’ve been visiting this area since many years, maybe you’d  like to explore the surroundings?! Not really close, but neither too far away, you’ll find a beautiful city which we strongly advise you to visit while you’re on vacation; a one day field trip to Mantova!

How to arrive in Mantova

Grab a water bottle and your camera and hop in your car, your final destination is not that far away! In just over 2 hours you’ll reach this part of Lombardy, immersed in the Po Valley. Have you already heard of Mantova? The city of the Gonzaga family is just on the border to our region, Veneto and Emilia, and I can assure you that even the local dialect is very different than ours! Take the A4 highway and then  the A22 and you arrive directly in Mantova: and here, your adventure begins! You should visit Mantova on a sunny day, as the fog, pretty and mysterious as it might be, tend to be pretty thick in this area!

Mantova, the panorama of the river Mincio merges with history

The city is surrounded with the beautiful panorama of the river Mincio, the river that deviates directly from the Como Lake, that in this area has a handle form shape, creating a lake divided into 3 different parts:  Lake Superior, the Middle Lake and the Lower Lake. On these marshy river banks the city that was to become the reign of the Gonzaga family was built. The nobles of Mantova tie this name to the city still to this day, thanks to the many monuments that have been built in their honor, and are still intact. A part from minor destruction due to the earthquake in 2012, that forced them to close for a period of time,  these monuments have reached modern times as testimonies of the rich and glorious Renaissance past of the city, and they became a World Heritage Site in 2008. The history of Mantova begins with a succession of different populations, the Etruscans, Gauls, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Lombards and Franks. Only in 1328 the Gonzagas claimed the power, and reigned until 1707. Subsequently the city was handed over to the Austrians, other than for a short period of time, until arriving at the unification of the Kingdom of Italy.

Sordello Square, the Cathedral, The Ducal Palace

Your visit should start from the Sordello Square, closed in by a number of ancient crenellated palaces, from the Ducal Palace and the facade of the Cathedral. This last, dedicated to Saint Peter, was built during the Middle Ages and with different styles; late Gothic and sixteenth century, the Romanesque bell tower and the neo-classical facade in Carrara marble. The Ducal Palace, on the other hand, was the main residence of the Gonzaga family, and consists of a number of buildings, built between the twelfth and seventeenth century, facing the lake shore, and  enriched by beautiful gardens, small churches, inner squares and arcades. The most ancient part is the one facing the Sordello Square, with the Magna Domus and the Palazzo del Capitano. The palace, which is very large, was painted  by great artists, among the most famous is the Newlywed’s room or the Picta Room, painted by Mantegna.

Saint Andrew’s Basilica, and Te Palace

In the Mantegna Square you can visit the Saint Andrew’s Basilica, build upon 2 earlier buildings: a Benedictine Monastery and a Church dedicated to the apostle Andrew,  built on the very spot where the relics of the land soaked with the blood of Christ on the Cross were found. In 1472 Ludovico II Gonzaga commissioned the Church to Leon Battista Alberti, while the cover of the basilica, a dome, was designed Filippo Juvarra. The urns with the blood of Christ are conserved in the Crypt to this day, In this basilica you can visit the tomb of Mantegna, in the rest of the ancient parts only the Gothic bell tower and a part of the Cloister are visible.
In Erbe square, right beside the Mantegna square, you’ll find the San Lorenzo “Rotonda”, or moreover the oldest Church of Mantova, built in 1082 by Matilde di Canossa, inspired by the Holy Sepulcher Church of Jerusalem. Here you’ll find traces of Byzantine frescoes from the eleventh and twelfth century. Finally, our last advice on what to see during your one day field trip to Mantova is the Te Palace, whose name derives from the place where it was built by Frederick II Gonzaga in 1525-26 and designed by Giulio Pippi (Giulio Romano). It’s a gorgeous villa, an authentic architectural gem, where the Gonzaga spent their free time, and holidays. If you have time left over, I advise you to go for a short boat ride on the lake, to then return to the Lario shores, where we, as always, will be waiting for you with a smile!

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