Day trip to Mantova: a few tips on what to see in Mantua, the beautiful city in the far east of Lombardy, famous for pumpkin tortelli and the Palazzo Ducale.
About 40km south of the popular destinations of Verona and Lake Garda, somehow Mantua ends up getting bypassed by most travellers. It takes only 20 minutes to walk across town which makes it for a perfect day trip, and this is due to the lakes that surround her, created as a defence in the renaissance. It’s been voted the Italian Capital of Culture of 2016 and Italy’s most livable city a few years ago which is surprising since it hasn’t changed for centuries.
The best way to see the city, as always is to get lost in the beautiful cobbled streets, start day dreaming whilst looking at the majestic palaces and get tempted by the bakeries selling just made, still-hot sbrisolona (the famous local crumbly dessert). People are friendly and often the city is covered by fog which makes it mysterious and seductive at the same time.
A must, that needs to be planned in advance to avoid queuing or worst disappointments is the Palazzo Ducale and the Chamber of the Spouses inside the Castle of San Giorgio. The cumulative ticket costs 13€ and it has a specific time, but don’t worry too much as nobody seems to care if you arrive in time or not. The chamber is impressive, but personally I was even more amazed by the 40 rooms of the palace, full of frescos, amazingly ornamented ceilings, rooms overlooking beautiful courtyards, smooth marble floors with geometrical shapes and rooms covered in detailed arazzi (wall rugs).
Don’t forget to try the tortello di zucca and have some Lambrusco to accompany your meal!