Mantua is a place for wandering along arcaded streets and through cobbled squares with handsomely proportioned churches and palazzi.
The southernmost of these squares is Piazza delle Erbe (Square of the Herbs) ★, so named for its produce-and-food market. Mantua’s civic might is clustered here in a series of late-medieval and early Renaissance structures that include the Palazzo della Ragione (Courts of Justice) and Palazzo del Podestà (Mayor’s Palace) from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the Torre dell’Orologio, topped with a 14th-century astrological clock. Also on this square is Mantua’s earliest religious structure, the Rotunda di San Lorenzo, a miniature round church from the 11th century (all of its building were closed for restoration and covered with scaffolding at the time of writing). The city’s Renaissance masterpiece, Basilica di Sant’Andrea, is off to one side on Piazza Mantegna.
To the north, Piazza delle Erbe transforms into Piazza Broletto through a series of arcades; here a statue commemorates the poet Virgil, who was born in Mantova in 70 b.c. The next square, Piazza Sordello, is vast, cobbled, rectangular, and lined with well-restored medieval palazzi and the 13th-century Duomo. Most notable is the massive hulk of the Palazzo Ducale which forms the right-hand, eastern, wall of the piazza. To enjoy Mantua’s lakeside views and walks, follow Via San Giorgio from the Piazza Sordello and turn right on to Lungolago dei Gonzaga, which leads back into the town center.
Tip: The Mantua Card costs 15€ and allows access to five city museums for 15€, allowing a saving of several euros on normal admission charges. Visit www.mantovaducale.beniculturali.it for more details.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.