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What to do in a day in Mantua?

Rich in priceless art treasures, Mantua, home of the poet Virgil, wins over with its aristocratic fascination. If you have little time in Italy, today we have for you an one-day tour in Mantua!

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What to do in a day in Mantua?

Entering Mantua,  you immediately understand the fascination that has enchanted artists and poets of all ages and origins over the centuries. From the river Mincio, where the city is ahead, three artificial lakes have been created that embrace it, reflecting its beauties and monuments. Shall we know what to do in one day in Mantua? See our one-day tour in this beautiful city. Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patriciayou make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”


Mantua is born from the waters that, according to what a legend says, are the tears of the prophetess Manto, waters that couls transmit prophetic powers to those who drank them. A fine, velvety mist rises from the waters, enveloping the entire landscape in a mysterious atmosphere between reeds and lotus flowers that are on the surface of the lakes. Take a guided tour of Mantua!

The history of the city, home of the Latin poet Virgil, is concentrated in the four centuries under the infleunce of the Gonzaga family, leaving praiseworthy testimonies of its splendor, starting with the sumptuous Doge’s Palace, which is accessed from Piazza Sordello (Sordello Square), considered the base of political and cultural activities of Renaissance Mantua. TIPS ON MANTUA?

1) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE HISTORIC CENTER

The wonderful city of Mantua, still not very touristy, contains a large number of historical places and monuments to be seen, in fact, there are numerous palaces, museums, churches and interesting places to visit in Mantua. If you want to visit Mantua in one day, a good route starts with entering the historic center of Mantua through the San Giorgio Bridge, where you can admire the famous, fascinating skyline, especially at sunset. After crossing the bridge, you will find the Castelo di San Giorgio (San Giorgio Castle) in front of you, the point where the three streets along the lakes of Mantua (Superiore, Inferiore and di Mezzo) meet.

2) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE SAN GIORGIO CASTLE

San Giorgio Castle has a square plan, consists of four angular towers and it is surrounded by a pit with three bridges and drawbridges. Tourists from all over the world arrive at the fortress to admire the Camera degli Sposi (“Bridal Chamber”) painted by Andrea Mantegna between 1465 and 1475, as an artist’s gift to the Gonzaga family. To see it you must book in advance.

3) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE DOGE’S PALACE

Bordering the right side of the San Giorgio Castle, one enters Piazza Sordello, the real heart of Renaissance Mantua. Mantua lived one of its greatest splendors during the Renaissance period, when Federico II Gonzaga was named as Duke of Mantua by the emperor Carlos V. On the left side of Piazza Sordello we find the Doge’s Palace, which was the residence of the Gonzaga in the 14th century, where many treasures, including paintings, statues and tapestries are kept. Those we believe you shouldn’t miss are: the Camera degli Sposi, the Room of Pisanello, the Corte Vecchia (“Old Court”), the Appartamento degli Arazzi (“Apartament of the Tapestries”) by Raffaello and the Studiolo of Isabelle d’Este (“Widow Apartment”).

4) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE CATHEDRAL

Always in Piazza Sordello we find another noteworthy monument, the Cathedral of Mantua, dedicated to St Peter. It was built in the 13th century and restructured by Giulio Romano in 1545. The cathedral is a splendid building, which is worth visiting for its particular architectural structure and the wealth of Renaissance works and paintings such as Campi, Ghisi and Viani.

5) What to do in one day in Mantua? THE PALACES

In Piazza Sordello you will find the Vescolvile Palace, since 1823 the episcopal seat and the Boncolsi Palace (also called Castiglioni Palace). Passing the vault of Piazza Sordello we find the historic center of Mantua. Continuing towards Accademia street, we find the Virgilian National Academy Palace.

Perhaps you are wondering why it is so important to visit this imposing 18th century building, designed by the same architect from La Scala Theater in Milan, Giuseppe Piematini, at the request of Maria Teresa d’Austria. The reason is very simple, it keeps a jewel loved and also appreciated by the father of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: the Bibiena Theater, the “Scientific” theater by Antonio Bibiena.

6) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT VIA ADIGÒ

After having crossed the square where the Dante Alighieri monument is also present, we continue our journey along Via Adigò, to find other wonderful goals such as: Broletto Square, Podestà Palace, the Arengario, the Sottoportico dei Lottonai alley, the Tazio Museum Nuvolari and Learco Guerra.

What to do in a day in Mantua?
Google Maps

7) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE PIAZZA DELLE ERBE (ERBE SQUARE)

Arriving at Piazza dell Erbe, we admire the Palazzo della Ragione (Ragione Palace), built in 1250, the Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower) with an example of the astronomical clock, the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, the oldest church in Mantua (in 1082), the circular base, built under the model of Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme.

The Piazza dell Erbe in Mantua is bounded by the arcades of the late Gothic and Renaissance houses, including the Casa del Mercante (“House of the Merchant”), built in 1455 by the merchant Boniforte da Concorezzo. The Palazzo della Ragione (Ragione Palace) was part of that nucleus of citizen buildings that emerged in the Middle Ages. The building has been modified many times since the mid-13th century. In the 15th century, the arches were built and in 1472 the Clock Tower, designed by Luca Fancelli, was built.

8) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE TE PALACE

After crossing the entire historic center, we head towards the southern part of the city to visit the Te Palace, which is the most fascinating and mysterious residence in Mantua. It was desired by Marquis Federico II Gonzaga, who was looking for a home for his entertainment. It is decorated with symbols and the image of myths. Considered the Village of laziness and leisure, it was designed from 1525 to 1535 by Giulio Romano, a student of Raffaello. Formerly, the Te Palace appeared in the center of an island surrounded by the waters of a lake and a green forest.

The Tour Route

The tour includes: the Cortile d’Onore (“Courtyard of Honor”), the Sala dei Cavalli (“Hall of Horses”), the rooms of Amore and Psiche, the winds, the eagles, the sumptuous Camera degli Stucchi (“Stucco Room”) and the Sala dei Giganti (“Room of Giants”), the largest and most notorious of the Te Palace. With the same ticket we can also visit the San Sebastiano Palace. Built between 1506 and 1508 at the will of Francesco II Gonzaga, husband of Isabella d’Este, this palace was built as a residence for rest and leisure of the lords of Mantua.

9) What to do in one day in Mantua? VISIT THE HOUSE OF MANTEGNA

Nowadays, the palace is the seat of the City Museum: during your visit, you will discover ancient and modern art and Caesar’s Triumphs, the 17th century copies of the original frescoes that describe Caesar’s victories. Close to the Palacio San Sebastiano there is also the House of Mantegna, a temporary exhibition center and reference point for the cultural debate in Mantua. The entire construction seems to revolve around this round core, which, due to its shape, is separate from any other Renaissance court, with greater emphasis on the originality of the artist Mantegna.

What to do in a day in Mantua?
Source Google Maps

How to get to Mantua?

1) How to get to Mantua? BY AIRPLANE

Mantua is accessible by plane from Verona Villafranca’s “Catullo” airport, 20 km from the center of Mantua. Arriving at Verona airport, it is possible to reach Mantua with buses that connect the airport to the center of Mantua.

Also read our posts about Airports in Italy:

2) How to get to Mantua? BY TRAIN

If you prefer to travel by train, we can reach Mantua very easily, as its station is a crossing point for all major railway lines. Did you know that Trenitalia is the main Italian company dedicated to the management of railway transport? Also find out “What is the difference between trains in Italy?”. Would you like to save? So buy your ticket online in advance and save a lot, read the Post “How to buy a train ticket in Italy?“.

3) How to get to Mantua? BY CAR

Anyway, if we want to travel by car, we can reach this city using the A22, A4 highways and the Autostrada del Sole (“Sun highway”), depending on the starting point. Once we arrive in Mantua, we can easily get around by the bus service present in the city.

Traveling by car in Italy

How about if I give you a rental car option? Are you ready for it? If you are renting a car be sure to read our posts in the section Driving in Italy on the blog Your Travel to Italy. In addition to car itinerary tips, we have everything about signage, tolls, roads and many more tips.

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What to do in a day in Mantua? Rich in priceless art treasures, Mantua, home of the poet Virgil, wins us over with his aristocratic fascination and certainly deserves a visit! And if you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier.

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