A provincial county town of great beauty, stretched out like a peninsula on the right bank of the river Mincio, which here forms three lakes (Superiore, di Mezzo and Inferiore). Founded by the Etruscans according to evidence found in recent excavations, a myth attributes the foundation of Mantua to the fortune-teller Manta.
Mantua was a small fortified town in the Medieval ages, then under the Gonzagas and especially during the Renaissance, became an important cultural centre. The Gonzaga heritage is certainly the strongest in Mantua: clear traces can be found in the Palazzo Ducale, in the splendid Basilica di Sant'Andrea and in the Church of S. Sebastiano, two masterpieces by Leon Battista Alberti. We should not forget Palazzo Te, the masterpiece by Giulio Romano, nor the architectural complex in Piazza delle Erbe, which includes the Torre dell'orologio, the Palazzo della Ragione and the Rotonda di S. Lorenzo. In Mantua you can visit the house of Mantegna, the Renaissance "court artist of Ludovico Gonzaga.
Among the events: the Festival of the Patron saint Sant'Anselmo, on the 18th March, a chance also to try the local " offelle", and continue then with the Processione dei Sacri Vasi on Good Friday. This involves vases kept in S.Andrea and which, according to legend, contain earth soaked with the blood of Christ.
City declared World Heritage by UNESCO