From the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) to walks among the greenery overlooking the Mincio River, here’s what to see in a one-day walking tour of the Renaissance city of Mantua.

A day trip to Mantua? Yes you can! Heritage of the Gonzaga dynasty, Mantua is one of Italy’s most exciting art cities and can be easily visited on foot, from square to square, in search of its treasures. Make a note of this itinerary: the beauty of the old town will take your breath away!

Città rinascimentali - Mantova Piazza Erbe credits Giancarlo Molteni

© Giancarlo Molteni via Flickr

Palazzo Ducale and the Picta Room: site for a day trip in Mantua

Considering the classic itineraries, we could count Mantua among the “alternative” Renaissance cities, along with Modena, Cremona and Parma. A unique place in the world: surrounded by water, Mantua is a veritable architectural treasure chest, with one of the largest museum complexes in Europe, comprising stately buildings, lodges, and gardens.

An exceptional heritage whose symbols include the Palazzo Ducale, the main residence of the Gonzaga family. One of the highlights of a day trip to Mantua is the Castle of San Giorgio, part of the Reggia dei Gonzaga museum complex. Are you ready for an unforgettable encounter with an unforgettable masterpiece? We are about to enter the Camera degli Sposi (Bridal Chamber) – also known as Camera Picta – decorated by Mantegna: this gem alone is worth the entire trip.

visitare mantova palazzo ducale gonzaga

Camera degli Sposi (The Bridal Chamber) – ph. A. Quattrone – by kind permission of the Ducal Palace Museum Complex of Mantua, Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism

Walking tour of Mantua: Piazza delle Erbe and surroundings

The marvel continues: we reach in Piazza delle Erbe, the nerve center of the municipal city, surrounded by medieval buildings such as the Palazzo del Podestà and the Palazzo della Ragione, and Renaissance structures such as the Clock Tower that stands next to the splendid rotunda of San Lorenzo.

A short walk away (we told you it’s easy to visit Mantua on foot!) you can also admire Mantua’s largest church, the Basilica of Sant’Andrea, designed by Leon Battista Alberti. In addition to admiring the facade, you should also step inside to see the works of art housed in the church, including Mantegna’sBaptism of Christ and Holy Family.

Gita a Mantova di un giorno: pause relax e gourmet

As we said, a one-day walking tour of Mantua is definitely feasible, given the short distances between its main attractions. They also include the Piazza Virgiliana, covered by water when the Gonzagas ruled the city and, centuries later, transformed into a large green lung.

If you arrive in spring, be sure to enjoy a relaxing walk on the Mincio river, among the park‘s elegant gardens dedicated to the Latin poet who was born in Mantua. And if you’re wondering what to eat – why the local Mantua-style pumpkin tortelli, of course! (that was a really easy answer ?)

Mantova tortelli mantovani - credits Darren and Brad via Flickr

© Darren and Brad via Flickr

Finally… Palazzo Te, Mantua’s gem

Another classic option for those Mantua visitors: Palazzo Te or Palazzo Ducale? Well, you must visit both of them, of course. To include both in your itinerary, however, you really should have a little more time: if you can spare two days for a visit, Palazzo Te is an essential “bonus”!

As its magnificence reveals at first glance, the residence is inspired by ancient Roman villas. What captivates the visitor is not only the architectural system, but also its decorative effects. Among the most sumptuous rooms are the Hall of the Giants and the Chamber of Cupid and Psyche, which is completely frescoed and designed to receive the most distinguished guests.

palazzo te visitare mantova

Reach Mantua with Italo

A lifetime is not enough to admire the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance: instead, it only takes a few minutes to plan your day trip to Mantua, thanks to Italo intermodality. Take advantage of daily bus connections to Mantua… the court of Gonzaga is waiting for you!