View Map

Overview

Small, easy to walk around and filled with history and art, Mantova is hard to resist. At its heart is the huge palace of the Gonzagas, an enlightened Medieval and Renaissance family that put Mantova on the map as a music, artistic and cultural center. Their Palazzo Ducale may be plain and formidable on the outside, but it contains splendid rooms with works by Tintoretto and Rubens, as well as frescoes by Mantegna in the Spouses Room. The Dwarfs' apartments, built for relatives (look for them in some of the paintings) are beautifully crafted in perfect miniature scale. Palazzo Te was built for later Gonzagas by a student of Raphael’s in the ...

Small, easy to walk around and filled with history and art, Mantova is hard to resist. At its heart is the huge palace of the Gonzagas, an enlightened Medieval and Renaissance family that put Mantova on the map as a music, artistic and cultural center. Their Palazzo Ducale may be plain and formidable on the outside, but it contains splendid rooms with works by Tintoretto and Rubens, as well as frescoes by Mantegna in the Spouses Room. The Dwarfs' apartments, built for relatives (look for them in some of the paintings) are beautifully crafted in perfect miniature scale. Palazzo Te was built for later Gonzagas by a student of Raphael’s in the Mannerist style, its rooms lavishly decorated in frescoes and ornate plaster work. In part of the palace, Museo Civico del Palazzo Te houses collections from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The baroque Basilica di San Andrea, dating from 1472, overlooks Piazza Erbe, the market square, which is often filled with a Saturday farmers market and with frequent fairs and expositions of agricultural products from the surrounding Po Valley. The splendid Torre Orologio (clocktower) faces the square, alongside the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, a small round church that dates from 1083. Mantova lies between three lakes fed by the River Mincio, and is familiar to opera lovers as the setting for Rigoletto.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

view full overview

Barbara Rogers for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The palaces and churches are open year-round, but April through October bring better weather. Fall harvests are the occasion for frequent wine and food festivals.