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Things to do in Mantua

Our most recommended things to do in Mantua

Mantua: Guided Walking Tour

1. Mantua: Guided Walking Tour

Discover the historic center of Mantua on a guided walking tour. Learn about the history and culture of this UNESCO World Heritage site, and hear stories of the Gonzaga family who designed it. Explore the highlights of this beautiful city, as well as its hidden gems. Your tour starts from the courtyards of Palazzo Ducale, and passes through Saint Giorgio Castle and Casa del Rigoletto. Wander down ancient streets and admire the most important sights, including Piazza Erbe and the Clock Tower. The tour ends by the Basilica di Sant’Andrea.

Mantova City Center and Ducal Palace: 3-Hour Guided Tour

2. Mantova City Center and Ducal Palace: 3-Hour Guided Tour

Surrounded by 3 small lakes, Mantova rises almost magically from the waters. The relationship between Mantua and water is a very close one: the Mincio River, the lakes and the medieval canal known as Rio are all entwined in Mantovan traditions. On a 3-hour walking tour in the city center you’ll discover how water and earth are unexpectedly interwoven. See stunning buildings, squares and churches. Learn about the importance of the Gongaza family in fine art and how they transformed their home into what is today the largest museum in Italy. The Ducal Palace was built between the 14th and the 17th centuries as the family’s royal residence in the capital of their duchy. The buildings are connected by corridors and galleries and feature inner courts and gardens. The complex includes about a thousand rooms and occupies an area of 34,000 square meters. Although most famous for Mantegna's frescos in the Camera degli Sposi (Wedding Room), there are many other very significant architectural and painted elements. Visit Rigoletto's House, see the exterior of the Saint George Castle and visit Piazza Castello, Piazza Santa Barbara and Piazza lega Lombarda. At Piazza Sordello you’ll have views of the Ducal Palace façade, the Cathedral, Vicolo Bonacolsi, Piazza Broletto with the medieval Palazzo del Podesta and Palazzo del Massaro and Arengario. Piazza delle Erbe is surrounded by the Palazzo della Ragione, the Clock Tower and the Saint Lorenzo Church. See the façade of the Merchant's House, Piazza Mantegna with the Basilica of Sant'Andrea built by Leon Battista Alberti and Piazza Leon Battista Alberti with the former cloister of the Sant'Andrea Monastery. No entrance tickets are needed on this city center tour, unless you’d like to visit the beautiful Bibiena Theatre where Mozart played when he was 13 years old (entrance €2). Churches close at noon and re-open at 15.00. During services entrance to visit churches is not permitted. For the Ducal Palace the entrance fee is €13. The Castle and Ducal Palace limit entrance to groups not larger than 25 people. For larger groups additional guides are needed and bookings are required in advance. On the first Sunday of every month, entrance to the Ducal Palace is free of charge, but cannot be booked in advance. As only 1,500 people per day can enter the room painted by Mantegna, on these special Sundays it may be impossible to enter that particular room.

Mantua: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour

3. 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.

Mantova: Private Walking Tour

4. Mantova: Private Walking Tour

After gathering in front of the entrance of the Captain's Palace in Piazza Sordello, your private Mantua sightseeing tour will kick off. This little-known city is a breathtaking jewel that boasts magnificent buildings. It is also home to splendid squares and charming alleys lined with arcades and graceful houses. Mantua is small but spectacular and is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment where art, nature, cultural heritage, excellent food, and a good overall lifestyle make life sweeter. You will see St. George's Castle, built by Francesco Gonzaga between 1395 and 1406, which became one of the most important examples of the Italian Renaissance when Andrea Mantegna painted the famous Camera degli Sposi. Your guide will then take you to visit Piazza Sordello, the main and most ancient nucleus of Mantua. This is where the town was born, and this square still represents the most important place in town, with its Duomo di Mantiva cathedral, Palazzo Ducale, and the other palaces which date back to the Middle Ages. Among the other attractions, you will also see Piazza delle Erbe, which has been the main marketplace in town since the Middle Ages.

Mantua: Astrological Mysteries Walking Tour w/ Palazzo Entry

5. Mantua: Astrological Mysteries Walking Tour w/ Palazzo Entry

Who would have thought? The city that is hastily labeled as the Cinderella of Lombardy is sprinkled everywhere with places that refer to mythological, alchemical and esoteric symbols, the likes of Turin. One need only walk a few steps through the streets of the center to find oneself immersed in a mysterious, obscure, superstitious and at times disturbing Mantua. The most esoteric place in Mantua is certainly Palazzo Te, a true concentration of esoteric symbolism and numerology. But it is not the only one. Among the city's most mysterious wonders is the Clock Tower on Piazza Erbe, whose hands not only indicate the hours of the day but also the zodiac signs, planetary hours, the days of the moon and the position of the stars. In nearby Piazza Broletto, Virgil, who became a famous magician in Naples, makes a fine display. But he was not the only Mantuan with a passion for "magic": many among the characters of the Gonzaga dynasty showed interest in the Arts, a boundless passion for hermetic Greek and Latin mythology, astrology and alchemy. Isabella d'Este certainly stands out, but Vincenzo I Gonzaga, interested in finding the philosopher's stone, was not to be outdone ... These and other esoteric tales will accompany us during the visit, which will conclude at the Falconetto Zodiac Room with predictions for 2023 of the 12 Signs by a professional astrologer. Meeting place: Casa del Rigoletto - Piazza Sordello 23 (arrive 15 minutes early) Itinerary: Piazza Castello (Ludovico II and the Bridal Chamber) - Giardino dei Semplici (Vincenzo I Gonzaga and Alchemy) - Piazza Pallone (Isabella d'Este and Astrology) - Piazza Sordello (Dante and Astrology) Piazza Broletto (Virgil and Magic) - Piazza Erbe (the Astrological Clock Tower) - Falconetto's Hall of the Zodiac Signs at Palazzo D'Arco Duration: 2.5 hours Maximum: 30 people

Mantua: Market Tour, Private Home Cooking Class, and Dinner

6. Mantua: Market Tour, Private Home Cooking Class, and Dinner

Go food shopping like a local, enjoying a distinctive Italian local market and learning how to recognize the best products from the land. Following your market experience, immerse yourself in a cooking class at a local home, learning the secrets of the most famous dishes of regional cuisine and taste the fruit of your labor accompanied by local wines. Throughout your lesson, your cook will reveal the tricks of the trade for authentic local recipes. You can have fun putting your cooking skills to the test, and will also have a workstation equipped with utensils and all of the ingredients required to make the dishes. At the conclusion of your experience, you will taste everything you have prepared throughout a 4-course meal accompanied by a selection of red and white local wines. Instead of loading your suitcase with souvenirs, this is your opportunity to take home Italian cooking skills that will stay with you for life.

Mantua: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

7. Mantua: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a private dining experience at a local's home, enjoying an exclusive show cooking and tasting authentic recipes treasured in family cookbooks passed down by real Italian "Mammas". This experience will allow you to feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people. You will enjoy a 4-course menu including a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, and dessert, with drinks included (water, selection of red and white wines from regional cellars and coffee).

Mantua: Market Tour & Meal with a Local Cook

8. Mantua: Market Tour & Meal with a Local Cook

Make a beautiful meal and a beautiful memory with a market tour and home-cooked dinner hosted by a local chef. Arrive at the home of your expert cook. Explore the market and shop like a local. Learn how to recognize the best produce. Afterward, return to your host’s home and enjoy a private cooking demonstration. Gain insight into Italian cuisine as your host reveals the secrets of her family’s cookbook. Watch as a delicious meal is prepared before your eyes. Once the food is ready, sit down at an authentic Italian dinner. Enjoy a 4-course seasonal menu including a starter, pasta, main course with a side dish, and dessert. Chat with your host as you share a delicious meal together. Enjoy a selection of red and white wines from regional cellars, as well as an after-dinner coffee. Feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people.

From Verona: Day Trip to Mantua with City Walking Tour

9. From Verona: Day Trip to Mantua with City Walking Tour

Take a walking tour of Mantua on a guided day trip from Verona. Explore the renaissance city that was rebuilt over a medieval town and filled with architectural remnants of both time periods. Stroll through numerous characteristic squares such as Piazza Sordell, Piazza Erbe, and Piazza Mantegna. As soon as you hop off the bus from Verona to Mantua, see the most important artistic and historical building of the town — the Castle of San Giorgio, part of the Ducal Palace of Mantua built by the Gonzaga family as their residence. Behind the moated castle lies the courtyards of the palace and the Palatine Basilica of Santa Barbara. Pass by the Cathedral of San Pietro Apostolo in Piazza Sordello. At the end of the square, marvel at Rigoletto's House, a small 12th-century building embellished with a 14th-century porch. Continue to Piazza Broletto, where the 13th-century Palazzo del Podestà is located. Learn about its many reconstructions over the years. Move to Piazza Erbe with its emblematic Palazzo della Ragione which marks the completion of construction and urban planning in the area. Next, admire the most ancient church in Mantua, the Rotonda di San Lorenzo. Sunk below the level of the square, its red-brick walls are still decorated with the shadowy remains of 12th- and 13th-century frescoes. Pass by the Casa del Mercante or Merchant's House. Finally, see the Basilica of Sant'Andrea, one of the major works of 15th-century Renaissance architecture in Northern Italy, overlooking the Piazza Mantegna. A masterpiece by famed architect Leon Battista Alberti, the co-cathedral preserves the relics of the blood of Christ in the crypt.

Mantua: Authentic Cooking Class at a Local's Home

10. Mantua: Authentic Cooking Class at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a cooking class at a local home. Discover the secrets of the most famous regional dishes and taste the fruit of your labor paired with local wines. During the lesson, the cook will reveal how to make three local delicious recipes. Everything you need to prepare the dishes will be at the ready, so you only need to bring your taste buds. Instead of loading your suitcase with souvenirs, take home Italian cooking skills that will stay with you for lifetime.

Frequently asked questions about Mantua

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What people are saying about Mantua

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 57 reviews

The guide, Manuela Roversi, is very good, she enchanted us with the history of Mantua and the Gonzaga family. A visit not to be missed!

Manuela was an excellent and clear guide. Very willing to explain in simple words and interact with my 10 year old son.

Great tour very interesting the historical explanation that threw us into another era. Very nice and prepared guide

Everything worked fine. Were contacted on site with WhatsApp and informed about the meeting point.

Extremely well informed creating a wonderful two hours. Provided help for subsequent tours.