1. Mantua: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour
Discover the birthplace of Virgil, the city where Shakespeare’s Romeo took refuge, and the setting for Verdi’s dramatic opera, “Rigoletto” on a 2-hour guided walk of Mantua. Surrounded by 3 small lakes, Mantua rises magically from the waters of the River Mincio, and the lakes and medieval canal of the "Rio." Learn how water and earth are interwoven to form the character of the town in public squares and at churches that only locals know. Start at the Casa di Rigoletto, chosen by the wealthy Gonzaga family as the residence of the legendary fool in Verdi’s opera. Continue to the Castle of St. George (San Giorgio) and the ducal palace of the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova. Marvel at public spaces of outstanding interest, such as Piazza Castello, Piazza Santa Barbara, and Piazza Lega Lombarda. Admire the façade of the ducal palace on Piazza Sordello. Then, go to Mantua Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Peter. Marvel at the facing Palazzo Bonacolsi, before going to Piazza Broletto to see the medieval palaces of the Palazzo del Podesta, Palazzo del Massaro, and Arengario. Next, visit Piazza dell Erbe to look at the Astronomical Clock Tower and the palaces of the Palazzo Cervetta and Palazzo della Ragione. See the imposing church of the Rotonda di San Lorenzo (Mantua’s oldest religious building). Admire the massive dome and Renaissance exterior of the Basilica of Sant'Andrea, and continue to Piazza Leon Battista Alberti to see the former cloister of Sant'Andrea Monastery. On request, you can also visit the beautiful Bibiena Theater where Mozart played when he was only 13 years old, and with an extraordinary auditorium designed in the late Baroque or early Rococo style by Antonio Galli Bibiena.