Lombardia - Places to visit - Mantua
This town stands 19 m. above sealevel on the right bank of the Mincio River, at the point in which the river bends, widening to form Lakes Superiore, di Mezzo and Inferiore.
Probably of Etruscan origin, it was occupied first by the local Gauls and then by the Romans in the 3rd century BC. After the fall of the Empire, it was subjected to various periods of Barbarian rule, and became a free municipality after forming part of Matilde di Canossa feudal dominions (11th-12th century).
In 1328, Gonzaga rule began and was to last for four centuries; under the Gonzagas the town grew in political importance and became the seat of one of the richest and most refi ned of the Renaissance courts. In 1707 Mantua passed to the Hapsburgs who, in 1844, made it one of the linchpins, with Verona, Legnago and Peschiera, of the famous `quadrilateral' defence system. Then followed the Italian Risorgimento.
Monuments: Palazzo Ducale or Reggia dei Gonzaga (13th-18th century, with the Mantegna frescoes in the bridal suite and other works of art), Sant'Andrea (Renaissance church by Leon Battista Alberti), Duomo (16th century), Palazzo T (the Gonzagas' summer residence), Castello di San Giorgio (castle with frescoes by Mantegna), Broletto (12th century), Torre dell'Orologio, Piazza Sordello, Piazza delle Erbe.
The economy of Mantua is still based on the marketing of farm produce from the surrounding plain. In recent decades, however, the chemical, mechanical, textile and food sectors have developed. Tourism linked to the artistic heritage of the town is important.
Events: Fiera di Sant'Anselmo (March), Good Friday Procession, Festa dei `Madonnari' delle Grazie (15th August).
Famous People: Virgilio Marone (Virgil, Roman poet, 70-19 BC.), Pietro Pomponazzi (philosopher, 1462-1525), Teofilo Folengo (poet, 1491-1544), Giuseppe Bazzani (artist, 1690-1769), Giovan Battista Bertani (architect, 1516-1576), Enrico Tazzoli (patriot, 1812-1852).
Cultural Institutions: Museo del Risorgimento, Museo di Palazzo Ducale, Mantegna's House, Museo dei Burattini-(Puppet museums, Gallery of Modern Art Palazzo T), Accademia Virgiliana (Academy of science, letters and arts).
In the Province: Sabbioneta (works of art), Gonzaga (birthplace of this dynasty), Castiglione delle Stiviere (Museo Storico Aloisiano-historical museum), Suzzara, Viadana, Ostiglia, San Benedetto Po (Museo Civico Polironiano-civic museum), Revere (Museo del Po, museum), Virgilio (Museo Virgiliano-Virgil museum).