this church is close to the train station and is worth a visit just to realize how different it is from the sumptuous San Pietro dome.
You might know that Franciscan monks believed that church was not supposed to be rich, it was not supposed to be powerful. Looking at this big but very clean looking church you really feel they were different!
The bricks facade has a nice window ornament, the inside has an amazing wooden roof. Everything has clean line and not many ornaments. It is a great place to just sit down, relax and wonder how we could make our life simpler and happier :-)
I would say Palazzo Ducale is the main attraction in Mantova. The building is huge and actually consist in several different parts built in different time.
It is open to visit Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15 to 19.15, closed Monday, 1st January and 25th December. Tickets cost 6.5 euros each. They strongly recommend to book in advance, so i did, but i was slightly disappointed about it as there was no preferential line for people with reservation. Maybe it was because there were not many people at all that day, but i was expecting it different.
The visit is very interesting, take at least one hour and end with the Camera degli Sposi with the famous Mantegna paintings. This is actually the only reason to book as this room has a restricted visitors number policy and the reservation grant you to get in.
The complex has wonderful roof gardens, unfortunately closed during winter time.
San Pietro is the main church of Mantova, it had an amazing neoclassical facade, white and adorned with statues, and the Gothic side is just as interesting with its spiky bricks ornaments. The contrast is actually amazing.
The inside is also interesting, with a marble floor and several chapels. They also have a great organ, the player was practicing when we were there and we stood there several minutes listening to the music and looking at his movements while he played, quite interesting.
The side chapel has several mummified bodies of important priest and nuns, some are quite old as they were dated around 1100!!
This was a real surprise! During some works in Piazza Sordello in 2006, the workers were making a excavation to install a speed bump, and with their high surprise they discovered the ruins of a roman villa!
They uncovered a mosaic pavement about 50 square meter with multicolored mosaic.
The pavement has been restored and it is now available to visit.
The entrance is surprisingly free, the set up is very nice, all dark to enhance the mosaic. It provides detailed information about Mantova in Roman era and about what they found there.
Unfortunately it is not possible to take picture inside but there are some nice one on the site provided below.
The pavilion is suppose to be open for visit until January 2012, I am not sure about what will happen after.
Open only Friday to Sunday: 10-12.30; 15-18
We did not gave Palazzo Te justice as we only payed it a night visit to take some pictures. Unfortunately we did not had enough time for an extensive visit.
It is a huge complex and it is a wonderful location for big and famous exhibit. During our visit there was one about Virgilio.
The palace was build in 1525 for the duke of Mantova and was meant to be the place where he would have had partiesand fun in general, so much to amuse a man!
It is surrounded by gardens and the inside is suppose to be wonderfully decorated. Sort of a Mantova's Versailles!!
It is now the Civic Museum, with a permanent collections and several exhibit every year.
Considering the size of the town, Mantova has a lot of green areas. The historical center is surrounded by the three lake, and the whole perimeter is a park.There are big old tree, lots of benches and picnic tables and nice pathway to walk or ride a bike.
Another big green area is Piazza Virgiliana, I did not like the white monuments with fountains but the green area is really appreciable.
The park I liked the most was actually a small enclosed garden, the entrance is on the right of Palazzo Ducale main door. Maybe the fall color helped it, but I really loved the shapes of the tree and path and took several good picture in it.
All those park would make great location for a rest period or a picnic lunch during your visit.
The Fireman Museum created in 1991 by Mantova firefighters has got to be one of the best in the world. They have preserved multiple types of trucks, equipment, tools, uniforms and more and placed them in a huge building near the Palace. The museum is free, and they will have a retired fireman there as a guide.
The trucks are in such good condition that you think they could drive off and use them in an emergency.
You don't want to miss this great museum.
Open Saturday 2:30 to 6:00
Sunday 10:00 to 12:00 then 2:30 to 6:00
Closed on Christmas and Easter
There are a number of things one can see walking around the city of Mantova. Castles and Churces of course, but we found a street that had our surname - Via Mario Cardone! Another discovery was Andrea Mantegna's home as we walked to Palazzo Te.
The Church of St Andrew stands on Mantegna Square. Leon Battista Alberti conceived of this church in 1470, and Luca Fancelli built it in the 16th century. The 17th century saw additions to it, and Filippo Juvara added its dome in the 18th. This is a fine example of Renaissance church architecture.
Bartolino of Novara built St George's Castle in the late 14th century for the Gonzaga family. It was the linchpin of the city's defenses. Originally, it was surrounded by a moat, now filled in. The interior is noted for its frescoes.
Mantova's most important center, after Herbs Square, is Sordello Square. The Cathedral of St Peter was originally built in the 12th century. Giulio Romano updated it in the 16th century, and Nicolo Baschiera added the 18th century facade.
The Ducal Palace is actually a set of buildings constructed by the Bonacolsi family, who ruled Mantova from 1273 to 1328 (when the Gonzaga family took over). This is a big complex, and I didn't have time to tour the entire place.
As a major agricultural center, Mantova is centered on a square named for the herbs grown in the countryside. Herbs Square is the best starting point for any visit to Mantova.
The Mayor's Palace was built in 1227. Duke Ludovico Gonzaga hired noted artist Luca Fancelli to remodel the palace. So it's a hybrid, part medieval and part Renaissance.
The Palace of Reason, on the square's west side, dates back to 1250. This is where the High Court of Justice met. Fancelli designed the imposing Clock Tower standing next to the palace.
The Rotunda of St Lawrence, on the other side of the Clock Tower, is a simple 11th century Romanesque-style church. It was built under Countess Mathilda of Canossa.
mantova è una di quelle città che non finiranno mai di stupirti! o almeno questa è l'impressione di chi come me, nata e vissuta qui, l'ha vista.
Descrivere tutto sarebbe impossibile anche perché le emozioni provate nell'entrare in posti simili sono particolarmente intense!
www.a-mantova.com contiene non solo foto e informazioni turistiche molto apporfondite,ma anche notizie storiche.
Mantova is one of those cities that never cease to amaze you...or at least this is the impression she give me one those who have spent their life (even though not long) there!
If have so much to see and words hardly describes the emotions you feel entering one of the sites that make Mantova special.
If are interested in art and history you'll love this city! Mantua was raised to major importance as a European Court, rising artistically, culturally, of religious and military importance. At the Gonzagas Court artists like Pisanello, Mantegna, Perugino, Correggio, Leon Battista Alberti, Luca Fancelli, Giulio Romano, G.B.Bertani, Viani, Rubens, Fetti. Were working and a great number of Renaissance masterpieces came into in their collections. The Palazzo del Podestà (Town Hall - 1227) in Broletto square, the Palazzo della Ragione(1250) Erbe square. The town was embellished with new churches S. Andrea (1472) .... many new on line: http://www.a-mantova.com/
Please visit the web site to have a view what Mantova offer.
Otherwise this are links to some of the most famous places to see
One of the most famous palaces:
Churches to see:
...& lots more!
Most memorable of all is an entire room of frescos by Andrea Mantegna which is to be found in St George’s castle, the fortified part of the complex. The series was commissioned by Duke Lodovico in 1471 and is known as “The Room of the Married Couple”. The Duke is shown in one fresco reading a letter. He is accompanied by his wife, children, servants, dwarf and courtiers, who are all vividly depicted dressed in glowing colours mostly of Autumnal gold and scarlet. Another fresco shows the Duke and his entourage meeting his son Francesco, a cardinal resplendent in scarlet and pale blue, on a journey. They are surrounded by younger family members and followers dressed in elegant capes and leggings. Mantegna has painted himself just behind and to the right of the cardinal. An idealised city is depicted in the background. Yet another fresco portrays the horses and hounds which were so beloved by the Gonzaga family together with some dashing young courtiers.
What makes these frescos so memorable is that Mantegna has not simply painted stylish images, the paintings show character too – these are people with hopes, ambitions, fears, ideas – just like ourselves. I suspect that if you were there – at the Gonzaga Court – you could name each and every one of them.
Technically Mantegna was ahead of his time, his paintings showed skilled use of perspective. The ceiling, the first of its kind, shows angles and peacocks peeping down from a circular structure into the room, with a blue and white sky beyond them.
We had this room completely to ourselves – for as long as we wished. There were no glass screens or timed entry, no crowds, no standing on tiptoe, no peering over a stranger’s shoulder, and no queues. All of this has inevitably become common in the grander, better known galleries of Italy, so, if you want to see something special, go NOW, before the crowds discover this hidden gem !
We spent much of our time in Mantua visting the Ducal Palace of the Gonzaga family. If you haven’t read my first tip on the Palace, there is more about our visit there. Unfortunately, we were supposed to leave our cameras with our bags in the left-luggage (I didn’t of course, being a well-trained Vter), so I couldn’t take any pictures inside because of the security (CCTV and custodians everywhere). So here in words is what you must go and see before it is discovered by the rest of the world.
The palace is a vast collection of buildings and courtyards of differing styles and ages. There is a route set out for visitors that takes you through many corridors and stairways, and to rooms with wonderful frescos. We passed through the Pisanello Hall with its frescos depicting tales of chivalry. We admired the fabulous chariots riding the skies in the Mirrors Hall and were amused by the frescos of half hidden horses in the Archers Hall. We found a whole room depicting Heros and Heroines of Greek literature painted by Romano.
Continued in Part 3