Things to see in Mantua - What to see in Mantua







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Things to see - What to see in Mantua            (Back to Mantua main information page)  

Mantua?s centre of interlinking cobbled squares retains its medieval aspect.The marvellous Palazzo Ducale is indeed one of the best monuments of the city built in between the XIV and XVII century.

Also known as Reggia dei Gonzaga after the rulers of Mantua, it is situated on the northeaster corner of the city. A city in the shape of a palace, the visitor feels like transported in another city and in another time, as far as the interiors contains three squares, fifteen courtyards, a park, and 500 rooms.

The most ancient parts of the palace, built in the XIV century, are the Castello di San Giorgio, overflowing with artworks collected by the Gonzaga and erected by Bartolino da Novara, a rinomated military architect; the Palazzo del Capitano built by Captain Guido Buonacolosi whose family has ruled Mantua for some time during 1271 and 1328 and where is the Room of Guastalla with frescos of the Gonzaga family.

The masterpiece of the Palace is the room Camera degli Sposi by Andrea Mantegna, who executed splendid frescos between 1465 and 1474 and is situated in one of the castle towers.

The Palace chapel is called the Church of Santa Barbara designed by Bertani in the XVI century, while the Room of Metamorphoses and the Loggia Eleonora where painted by architect Viani around XVI and XVII.

The Duchesses? Staircase (Scalone delle Duchesse), built in the XVII century, leads to the Morone?s room which portray the ?Ousting of the Bonacolosi?.

Among the many other rooms, worth visiting are the Sala del Pisanello of decorated by Antonio Pisano with unfinished frescos of Arthurian legend, the Sala di Troia, the Zodiac?s Room with frescos of the zodiac and the great Room of the Archers (Sala degli Arcieri) once housing the apartment of Duke Vincenzo, and famous for a altarpiece by Rubens (1605), portraying the Gonzaga family in adoration of the Holy Trinity.

Also very worth to see are the XVIII century Sala dei Fiumi of the Habsburg era decorated with artificial grottoes covered in shells and mosaics. The Galleria Nuova, a corridor built in the 1778 by Piermarini, and the Mirror Gallery (Galleria degli Specchi), built as an open loggia with frescos in its vault by Reni?s students.

Another magnificent palace is the Palazzo del Te from the Romano (a pupil of Raphael), on the fringe of the marches just outside Mantua's city walls. Basically a square house, it was built around a cloistered courtyard.

In Renaissance and post Raphaelian styles, it is a combination of steamy erotica and illusionistic fantasy.  

It hosts the Museo Civico which contains a collection of Mesopotamian?s arts.

With many beautiful rooms, it has in Camera dei Giganti one of the most fantastic frescos of the Renaissance depicting the destruction of Jupiter over the Titans.

The Basilica di Sant?Andrea, a Renaissance building with a baroque cupola, emerges above the city. It was inspired by the Alberti, but it was built after his death and completed after three century.

The crypt of the church safeguards a much disputed relic, a golden vessel holding the ?Preziosissimo Sangue di Cristo? (the Highly Precious Blood of Christ), brought to Mantua by Longinus, the Roman soldier who speared Christ on the cross. After years of dispute about its authenticity Pope Pius II settled the matter in the XV century by declaring it had miraculously cured him of gout. Another chapel houses the tomb of the great painter Mantegna.

South of the Basilica, across XV century colonnaded Piazza delle Erbe, is the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, a magnificent XII century Romanesque round building believed to stand on the site of a Roman Temple dedicated to Venus.

Other buildings worth seen are the Duomo Cathedral of Piazza Sordello with a XVIII century fa?de and the Palazzo Broletto in which fa?de there is a figure saying to represent the poet Virgilio with its Piazza Broletto, the city?s symbol, also known as ?Vecia Mantua?.

Near to Piazza Brodello is the Torre della Gabbia (Cage Tower), an antique prison, and Casa Rigoletto, used by Verdi for most of his operas.


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