Planning your visit to Mantova
This is a little city with all attraction concentrated in small central area of the old town= 1/4-1/8 of it inside walls. So, you don't need more than 3-4 hour to view them all.
Take this consideration in account while planning your trip, particularly if you go by gar. The city does not worth more than half a day.
This palace is a huge complex of several buildings, churches, yards and gardens, added in different historical periods. It counts 500 rooms and 15 open spaces. The picture depicts the facade of 'Palazzo del Capitano' (13th-14th century), the first part of Palazzo Ducale to be built during the first Bonacolsi ruling.
Torre della Gabbia and Palazzo Acerbi
Torre della Gabbia, dating to the 14th century, is over fiftly meters high and has been repeatedly restored. In 1576 an iron cage, in which criminals were displayed to the public, was installed about halfway up.
The medieval Palazzo Acerbi, also knpwn as Palazzo Guerrieri, stands in Piazza Sordello between Torre della Gabbia and Voltone di San Pietro. The battlements, on the top of the palace, were the result of 19th c. restoration which attempted to restore its presumed medieval look to the square.
Chiesa di San Francesco
The church of San Francesco was built between the late 13th and early 14th century on the site of an oratory dedicated to one of the followers of Saint Francis. The Franciscan order and the church was under the protection of the Gonzaga, thus the church became no less then mausoleum for the Gonzaga family.
The church was seriously damaged in the allied bombings in WW II, and was completely rebuilt.
At the back inside the church is the Gonzaga Chapel, where numerous members of the family were buried.
We were dropped off by bus, near the Ducale Palace. But, we were given no instructions. So, my friend and I headed off to find the entrance to this place. We should have gone to the Mantova information desk, but we had been told that it would more than likely be closed on a Sunday.
We later found out that it was not closed. Our mistake.
We began walking around the palace, attempting to find the entrance. I must admit, that this palace is located in beautiful surroundings, with a lake across the street from it. The views were lovely, and you could actually walk down into a lakefront park, and sit and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. But, we were on a strict time schedule, so we continued on in search of the entrance.
Ok, by now, we figured that we should have found the entrance. We actually walked the entire way around this palace, and entered up in a street that seemed to cut through the palace. But, we still could not find the entrance!
By the way, there were no "ducale Palace entrance" signs anywhere.
In the end, we found the entrance in the Piazza where we had been dropped off. We actually had attempted to enter, at first, just one door up from the entrance, but were shooed away by the people who worked there.
It was well worth the visit. It holds rooms and room of beautiful paintings.
While searching for the entrance to the Palace, we stumbled upon the Teatro Bibiena , a music hall where Mozart actually performed. The inside is beautifully decorated. There was a small admission fee, and you did need small change, as the woman at the desk didn't seem to have any, which was a bit suspicious, considering how many people had paid before us to go in. I just don't think she was willing to give out change.
Children under 17 were free, but you needed to inform the attendant of that fact, as she wasn't offering that information out.
"Piazza's and food"
So, we continued to walk around, and we stumbled into a Piazza that had a glorified "food court" in it. We were on a strict time schedule, so we dared not venture off to look for food elsewhere. Most of the restaurants did not open until 7:00, and we were there mid-afternoon, scheduled to leave around 7:00.
So, we found a piazza that offered tortella zucca in every one of the little shops. We picked one, ordered, ate outside under an umbrella, and really enjoyed the delectable tastes.
Then, we splurged on a Gelato. Both were just wonderful! And both were very inexpensive. 5 € for the Tortella and 1.8 € for the Gelato
"San Pietro Duomo"
We took a quick look inside this cathedral. It holds quite a bit of fine art, but the inside was dark, and it was difficult to really take in the beauty.
There is a blessed incorruptible located to the left of the main altar.
But beware of the fact, that this blessed person does not actually look incorrupt by my standards.
We had wanted to visit this church because it contains a relic from the the crucifixion in the basement. Unfortunately, we arrived in between the scheduled tour times of the crypt, so we had to forego that tour.
But, the interior was stunning. Well worth stopping in and checking out all of the fine art on the inside.
"San Andreas Interior"
You can see the beautiful frescoes in the ceiling surrounding the dome to this church.
The lighting was much different in this church, enabling the beauty to stand out for all to view.