Palazzo Ducale, with the Castle and Mantegna’s Bridal Chamber
Walk in the heart of town.
Bibiena’ s Scientifical Theater (on request)
Lunch in a traditional Mantuan restaurant
Architectural walk to Palazzo Te
Giulio Romano’s Palazzo Te
MANTUA, JEWEL OF LOMBARDY
http://www.walksinsidevenice,comMANTUA, JEWEL OF LOMBARDY – Sided by the water of the Mincio River on three sides, Mantua boasts a surprisingly rich and well-
preserved historical center, closed to vehicles, that you’ll explore with your guide, stopping here
and there to admire the profusion of Medieval, Renaissance, and Manneristic architectures, which
witness a long period of prosperity under the Gonzagas and under the Austrian Empire. We’ll also
keep an eye on the many windows proposing an enticing variety of local gastronomic specialties.
The pulsating heart of Mantua stars the huge Piazza Sordello, the more intimate Piazza delle Erbe,
the San Lorenzo Rotunda, the Clock Tower, the Cathedral. Cocooned as they are by beauty and
history, Mantuan people seem to conduct a peaceful, timeless life, far from the hectic atmosphere
of bigger, more cosmopolitan cities as Milan or Venice, still preserving most of their traditions.
Our day in Mantua will also include the two world-famous residences of the Gonzagas, the great
family who ruled this City-State for 400 years: Palazzo Ducale, a huge complex literally stuffed with
art treasures, whose most famous section is the Castle of San Giorgio with the unmissable Andrea
Mantegna’s Bridal Chamber; and, just outside the city center, Giulio Romano’s masterpiece, known
as ‘Palazzo Te’, an enormous suburban villa decorated with whimsical frescoes depicting giants,
apocalyptic catastrophes, horses, and erotic scenes, reputed as one of the greatest examples of
Mannerist style in Italy. Your guide will narrate facts about the most outstanding family members.
The highlight of our morning in Mantua will be Palazzo Ducale, where your expert guide-lecturer
will distillate the best of 500 rooms, with 15 inner gardens…climax of the visit the splendidly
restored Bridal Chamber, where Mantegna worked from 1465 to 1474 for Ludovico III Gonzaga
and his wife Barbara of Brandenburg. The visitor is magically brought back in time by the vivid
portraits of people, dogs, horses, and by the vibrant painted landscapes. You’ll be literally raved by
the illusionistic effects created by the great master, culminating up above in the great cupola.
A walk along the atmospheric cobbled streets, slowing down and admiring relaxing waterscapes,
will allow you to absorb all this beauty. On request we might fit into the tour a brief visit to the 17 th
century Bibiena’ s Scientific Theater. A very young Mozart performed in this jewel-box in 1770, it
was his first exhibition in Italy. A must for music and opera lovers, can be enjoyed by everyone.
A visit to Mantua won’t be complete without savoring some of its culinary gems, to be washed
down by a good glass of Mantuan Lambrusco or by a white Garda: pumpkin tortelli, risotto alla
pilota, ‘capunsei’, sauced pike, ‘sbrisolona’ cake, elvezia cake, mustard of Mantua…enjoy!
In the afternoon, our MANTUA, JEWEL OF LOMBARDY TOUR goes on route to Palazzo Te, you’ll be impressed by some noble religious
architectures, veritable jewels of the Renaissance, such as St Andrew Basilica and the Leon
Battista Alberti Temple. Finally, we’ll be welcomed by the embracing courtyard of this summer
palace, designed by Raphael’s pupil, architect and painter Giulio Romano (1524-1534). Federico II
commissioned it for his lover, Isabella Boschetti. The villa was meant for leisure and parties.
Once inside, you’ll learn about Federico II’s private affairs, namely his forbidden love for Isabella
Boschetti, whose vicissitudes are somehow narrated in the Room of Cupid and Psyche. Horses’
lovers will adore the incredibly realistic trompe l’oeil frescoes which are the absolute protagonists
of the Hall of the Horses. The Gonzagas bred and cared for their horses in their famous stables.
The Hall was used for the most important ceremonies, and two of the horses still have their names.
The ‘dulcis in fundo’ of your day will be the fantastic Chamber of the Giants, inspired by Ovid’s Fall
of the Giants. Somehow like in Andrea Mantegna’s Bridal Chamber you’ll feel at the center of the
scene, but here everything seems to be rotating around you in a series of dramatic actions, as in a
Steven Spielberg movie…you’ll laugh at the caricatural expressions of the falling Giants and will
have the feeling that one day in Mantua was not enough. You need to come back and stay longer!
if you booked our private MANTUA, JEWEL OF LOMBARDY tour you might also like to visit Brescia with us.
You might also like to take A WALK IN JEWISH MANTUA.
- This tour lasts five hours and costs 480 euros up to six people (not per person).
- Only private parties.
- For larger parties send us an email!
- Entrance fees per person: Palazzo Ducale 17 euros (closed on Mondays) – Palazzo Te 17 euros (closed on Tuesdays)
- Short sleeves and knee high skirts/pants ok
- No sleeveless garments, no shorts.