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10 things to see absolutely in Mantua


Mantua is an enchanting city, declared in 2008 Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco, in 2016 also nominated Italian Capital of Culture. It is easy to understand why, given the exceptional artistic, urban and architectural achievements that you can find in the city.
There are indeed numerous palaces, churches, museums, places of interest that are part of the artistic and cultural heritage of Mantua.

Index

  1. Ducal Palace
  2. Palazzo Te
  3. San Giorgio Castle and the Camera degli Sposi
  4. Palazzo della Ragione and Clock Tower
  5. Palazzo del Podesta
  6. Basilica of Sant'Andrea
  7. Rotunda of San Lorenzo
  8. Cathedral of San Pietro
  9. Casa del Mantegna
  10. The Municipality of Sabbioneta
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Doge's Palace

And the wonderful Palazzo Ducale is the place that saw the birth and development of the power of the Gonzaga family. It is one of the largest court palaces in Europe.
Residence of the Gonzaga family for more than four centuries, inside the more than 500 rooms it is possible to admire various treasures of the Renaissance artists, like Tintoretto, Pisanello, Tiziano and Andrea Mantegna, who was a court painter.



  • Address and contacts: Piazza Sordello, 40 - Tel. 041 2411897 - Directions
  • Morning 8:15 - 13:30, Afternoon 13:30 - 19:15); Ticket Office Hours 8:15 - 18:20
  • Cost: € 12,00 full day and € 7,50 reduced day ticket; the ticket for the Ducal Museum Complex also includes a visit to the Camera degli Sposi and the Castle of San Giorgio

2 - Palazzo Te

Masterpiece made by Giulio Romano on commission of Francesco II Gonzaga. The name derives from one of the islands that once were on the Mantua channel, the island of Tejeto, abbreviated to "Te".
The rooms are frescoed in a sublime way: to mention the famous Sala dei Giganti, with frescoed classical scenes of groups of Titans and ancient pagan divinities, the Sala Di Amore e Psiche and the Sala dei Cavalli, with frescoes from the Gonzaga stables. The Mantua Civic Museum is housed inside the palace.



  • Address and contacts: Viale Te, 13 - Tel. 0376 323266 - Directions
  • Monday 13:00 - 18:30, from Tuesday to Sunday 09:00 - 18:30; Closed on December 25th
  • Cost: € 12,00 full, € 8,00 reduced, € 4,00 special reduced: students and visitors between 12 and 18 years

3 - San Giorgio Castle and the Camera degli Sposi

The Castle of San Giorgio was born as a defensive building at the end of 1300, it is recognizable by its 4 towers, of which the one located to the north-east houses the famous Camera degli Sposi (Camera Picta), testimony of court life in the 500, located in the apartments that belonged to Isabella d'Este and with a cycle of frescoes on the walls and ceiling vaults, made by Andrea Mantegna.
Inside the Castle important historical and artistic testimonies are preserved, such as the Apartment of the Dwarves, the Summer Apartment and the Gallery of the Months.

  • Address and contacts: Piazza Sordello, 40 - Tel. 041 2411897 - Directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday 8:15 am - 19:15 pm, last admission 18:20 pm; Closed on Mondays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st. Reservation recommended.
  • Cost: € 12,00 full day and € 7,50 reduced day ticket; the ticket for the Ducal Museum Complex also includes a visit to the Ducal Palace

4 - Palazzo della Ragione and the Clock Tower

Through the Portico dei Lattonai, you can easily reach Piazza delle Erbe, surrounded by arcades on three sides and with various late medieval buildings. Among these, the Palazzo della Ragione, a huge two-storey crenellated building, built in the twelfth century. It is possible to admire the wonderful frescoes, datable to the end of the th century, inside the upper hall, reachable through an external covered staircase. Next to the building you will find the famous Clock Tower with the Museum of Time.



  • Address and contacts: Piazza Erbe - Tel. 0376 288208 - Directions
  • Tuesday to Friday 10:00 - 13:00 and 15:00 - 18:00; Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10:00 - 18:00; Monday closed.
  • Cost: € 3,00 full; € 1,50 reduced - In the presence of exhibitions, additions to the admission price are possible.

5 - Palazzo del Podestà

Also known as Palazzo del Broletto, it was built in 1227 and was the seat of the municipal government of the city for several years. The palace closes the piazza delle Erbe with its rear side, while the facade is on piazza Broletto.
The side facing this square has a niche with the statue of Virgil in the Chair. The right side is occupied by a civic tower which served as a prison, while at the base we find the Portico dei Lattai, which leads to Piazza delle Erbe.

  • Address and contacts: Piazza Broletto - Road signs
  • always accessible
  • Cost: Free

6 - Basilica of Sant'Andrea

The Basilica of Sant'Andrea is the largest church in the city, and is also one of the most important examples of Renaissance art. It was commissioned in 1462 by Ludovico II Gonzaga to Leon Battista Alberti, who created the marvelous facade.
The church took three centuries to complete: the dome was built in the eighteenth century by Juvarra. In the crypt there is the sacred relic of the "Precious Blood of Christ" brought to Mantua by Longinus, a Roman centurion. Andrea Mantegna is buried inside the church.



  • Address and contacts: Piazza Andrea Mantegna - Driving directions
  • Visiting hours: always accessible
  • Cost: Free

7 - Rotunda of San Lorenzo

Make a note of the beautiful Rotonda di San Lorenzo among the things to see in Mantua. Located on the side of Piazza delle Erbe, it is the oldest church in the city, built in the th century during the Canossa domination. It is a notable example of romantic art, and consists of a semicircular apse which exhibits frescoes of Byzantine art.

  • Address and contacts: Piazza Erbe - Tel. 0376 322297, 347 9940932, 338 9171666 - Directions
  • Monday to Friday (summer 10: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-19: 00, Winter 10: 00-13: 00 and 14: 00-18: 00); Saturday and Sunday: 10 am-00pm
  • Cost: Free offer

8 - Cathedral of San Pietro

Il Mantua Cathedral it was dedicated to the apostle Peter. Originally built in the early Christian era, the church has been remodeled several times over the centuries: the bell tower has a Romanesque style, the façade, on the other hand, decorated with rose windows and pinacles, is in Baroque style and has replaced the ancient Gothic façade . The interior of the church was instead renovated in 1545 by Giulio Romano, who was himself inspired by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

  • Address and contacts: Piazza Canonica S. Pietro, 11 - Tel. 0376 320220 - Directions
  • 7:00-12:00; 15:00-19:00.
  • Cost: Free

9 - Casa del Mantegna

The house of Mantegna, painter of the Gonzaga court, was built by the artist in 1476 on land donated to him by Ludovico Gonzaga, probably as a reward for the hard work done to create the magnificent frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi.
The palace, designed on a perfect geometric design, is spread over two floors conceived on a square plan, in the center of which stands a majestic circular courtyard. Today the house, which can be visited for free, is a fundamental reference point of Paduan art and it often hosts temporary exhibitions.

  • Address and contacts: Via Giovanni Acerbi, 47 - Tel. 0376 360506 - Directions
  • Tuesday to Sunday 10: 00-12: 30 and 15: 00-18: 00); Monday closed.
  • Cost: Free (on the occasion of exhibitions, variable between € 2,00 and € 5,00)

10 - The Municipality of Sabbioneta

Known as "the ideal city", Sabbioneta is certainly among the most beautiful villages in Italy and, together with Mantua, a Unesco Cultural Heritage since 2008.
It was built from scratch in the second half of the sixteenth century on the model of the ancient cities of the classical world. Today it preserves its urban structure almost intact, with the mighty defensive curtain wall and monumental gates. Not to be missed are the enchanting Palazzo Ducale, Palazzo Giardino and the Teatro all'Antica.

  • Address and contacts: It is 33 km from Mantua (APAM bus, interurban line 17, fare class 7) - Directions
  • always accessible
  • Cost: Bus fare around € 5,30

Plan your stay in Mantua: interactive map + info on flights, hotels and tours

If you have a car to visit Mantovani surroundings, it might be wise stay in one of the villages on the outskirts of the city like Grazie or Curtatone, perhaps in a farmhouse overlooking the Regional Reserve of the Mincio Valleys. If you are interested in visiting Mantua mainly, staying in one of the downtown hotel you will see all the attractions moving on foot or by urban public transport.

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