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Sightseeing in Mantua - what to see. Complete travel guide

The Italian city of Mantova is more famous as Mantua in tourist circles. This settlement is the center of a province with the same name. Are you interested in architecture, art or history of Italy? A journey to this region will be an interesting and educational experience for you. Mantua is different from usual megalopolis cities that are overcrowded and always noisy. Having arrived in this Italian city, tourists get a feeling that Mantua has kept its modesty and atmosphere of a military fortification through centuries. Calm and ever peaceful nature is the true pride and the main symbol of Mantua. When taking a stroll in the spacious streets of this city, it is so easy to fall in love with this amazing and one-of-a-kind settlement.
Etruscan and Gallic tribes were the first settlers in the region. They made their settlements on the site of modern Mantua. In the 11th century, Boniface of Canossa, marquis of Tuscany, added Mantua to its possessions. In 1269, Pinamonte Bonacolsi, a wealthy local, seized the power in the city that was in chaos at that time. He exiled the settlement’s ruler and destroyed his family. The Bonacolsi dynasty proved its management capabilities and was keeping the power in its hands for almost sixty years. However, when the last member of this family was killed, the Gonzaga family set up its reign in Mantua. Soon, all members of this family became marquises.
Relatives of the Gonzaga family became the new rulers in 1708. If previous authorities tried to turn Mantua into a center of culture, the new government turned the city into a bastion. Mantua was protected so well that Napoleon I had trouble capturing it. The French leader could conquer this important key to the Apennine Peninsula only after a long siege. When Mantua’s protection finally fell, the attackers plundered the city’s shrines and destroyed many important landmarks. The French reign continued until 1814. After that, the Austrians claimed this territory and became the new rulers. Mantua finally became an administrative region of Italy in the 60s of the 19th century. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
The Rotonda di San Lorenzo is the oldest church in Mantua and one of its biggest treasures. According to historic data, this magnificent church was built in 1083. For almost five hundred years, the rotunda was the main religious building in the city, and local people visited it for divine service. In 1579, Duke of Mantua Guglielmo Gonzaga ordered to close the church. After that, the Rotonda di San Lorenzo remained closed for three hundred years.
In 1908, the extensive restoration finally started in the church. The restorative works lasted almost eighteen years. The grand reopening of the iconic shrine happened in 1926. Since that time, the rotunda has been hosting public prayers. The church is a round-shaped building with a semi-circular apsis. This is a gorgeous example of the Romanesque architecture in Mantua. Different frescos, two columns, and numerous marble details decorate the inside of the rotunda. The precious frescos of the 11th and 12th centuries are a fantastic combination of the Byzantine school and Lombard traditions.
Do you want to see how Italian dukes lived in the past? In Mantua, tourists are welcome to visit the majestic Ducal Palace or Palazzo Ducale di Mantova. This is not just a magnificent and eye-catching building. Visit this fantastic place and you will see that the Ducal Palace is a whole complex of buildings. For a long time, this was home to the rulers of Mantua. Numerous galleries connect the auxiliary buildings, and each gallery has a beautiful garden and a cozy inner yard. The oldest part of the palace was built at the end of the 13th century. It includes the Palazzo del Capitano and the Magna Domus that form so-called Corte Vecchia.
At the end of the 14th century, a new castle was erected not far from the palace. The fortification got its name after Saint George. Later, the Gonzaga dynasty captured the castle and added it to the Ducal Palace complex. The north-east tower got a new notable element – Bridal Chamber famous for its exquisite frescos. The palazzo got a new wing with the ruler’s residence at the beginning of the 80s of the 15th century. A century later, the Church of Santa Barbara opened in the complex. This church became the last building added to the fabulous Palazzo Ducale di Mantova. The Gonzaga family lived in this majestic place for almost four centuries.
Mantua has a comfortable location close to popular gateway cities. Venice and Milan are situated not far from this Italian city, so tourists have no trouble reaching this cultural center of the country. Virtually every settlement in North Italy has a connection to Mantua. Trains from Verona and Milan regularly arrive at the Mantua’s central station. Besides that, there are many trains from Padua and Ferrara. It takes only forty minutes to reach Mantua from the closest big city – Verona. When arriving in North Italy by train, tourists can reach Mantua by taxi or train.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Mantua and surroundings

Reference information
Map of all castles
Survived castles around Mantua
♥   Castle 'Torre dell’Orologio' Mantua, 0.3 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castello San Giorgio' Mantua, 0.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Castel d’Ario Castle' Castel d’Ario, 15 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Rocca Malaspina' Monterenzio, 16.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Castle 'Volta Mantovana Castle' Volta Mantovana, 21 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all parks
National and city parks around Mantua
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale dell’Appennino Tosco-Emiliano' , 94.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale delle Cinque Terre' , 142.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale dello Stelvio' , 145.8 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale delle Dolomiti Bellunesi' , 148.5 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   National Park 'Parco nazionale delle Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona e Campigna' , 152.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in Mantua and around
♥   Art museum 'Palazzo Ducale' Mantua, 0.7 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'Palazzo Te' Mantua, 1.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Art museum 'Castelvecchio Museum' Verona, 35 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Sights around Mantua from our guide 'Extreme places on Earth'

Arena di Verona

From the series “Ancient Amphitheaters and Arenas, That Are Still Operational”
In 1117, the building was badly damaged during the earthquake, part of its outer ring was destroyed. Its stones were used by locals to build residential and farm buildings. In the Middle Ages, the ancient arena was used to execute heretics and conduct knight tournaments, and in the 18th and 19th centuries it was used to hold bullfight. Since 1913, the Verona Arena is a permanent venue for opera performances, which everyone can visit. Arena di Verona is considered the largest and most visited opera theater of the planet, which annually receives about 600000 spectators. … Read further

City of Verona

From the series “Top 15 Unesco Sites in Europe”
Fans of museums won’t be bored in Verona, too. The Archaeological Museum is one of the most interesting and most visited in the city. As noted earlier, the whole area of ​​Verona and its surroundings is an important archaeological area where a lot of priceless artifacts dating back to ancient Greece and Rome were found. Romantic Verona with its picturesque canals and pedestrian bridges is perfect for walking and a relaxing holiday. This city without doubt is one of the most amazing in the world. … Read further
Car rental on OrangeSmile.com Rentals in Mantua

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Sightseeing in regions nearby Mantua

All about Mantua, Italy - sightseeings, attractions, touristic spots, architecture, history, culture and cuisine. Prepare your trip together with OrangeSmile.com - find out the 'must see' things in Mantua, which places to visit, which excursions to take, where the breathtaking views are waiting for you. Planning your trip with this travel guide will help your to get the most out of Mantua in few days.
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