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DISCOVER MANTOVA FOLLOWING ELEONORA BURATTO'S SUGGESTIONS

Mantua/ Must See

1 Palazzo Te

2 Palazzo San Sebastiano

3 Palazzo Ducale

4 Piazza Erbe

5 Rotonda di San Lorenzo

6 Basilica di Sant’Andrea

7 Teatro Bibiena

8 Biblioteca Teresiana

9 Parco del Mincio

10 Museo di Palazzo D’Arco

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A dark-eyed soprano who has won adoration on stages all over the world, Eleonora Buratto was born in Mantua and honed her craft at the local academy of music. In 2009, under the direction of Riccardo Muti, she embarked on a career that has seen her perform at the finest theatres in the world, including Milan’s La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Despite her meteoric rise, Buratto still has her roots firmly in her beloved Mantua, which she describes here. Her favourite places? “The Camera degli Sposi in the Ducal Palace and Palazzo Te, with its stunning frescoes by Giulio Romano.” Over to the Cult City Ambassador…

 

I LIKE MANTUA BECAUSE
Because Mantua me genuit – Mantua gave me life. And because it’s an extraordinarily romantic city.

A MASTERPIECE NOT TO BE MISSED
Mantua is packed with masterpieces, but best of all has to be Andrea Mantegna’s sumptuous Camera degli Sposi, which adorns the marvellous Ducal Palace. It’s the most beautiful of the city’s ornate bedrooms. It’s a shame to just pick out one, because another place I love is Palazzo Te, with its stunning frescoes by Giulio Romano.

A SECRET PLACE
The Taverna Storica in Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga, which houses the secret lodge of the Carbonari society. Mantua is a Renaissance city and the Belfiore martyrs are the perfect testament to that.

THE MUSEUM I’D VISIT 1.000 TIMES
I don’t care if I’ve already said it: the Ducal Palace! It has more rooms (nearly 1000) than any other noble residence in Europe – more than the Palace of Versailles. It has so many masterpieces that it really does require 10, 100 or 1000 visits to discover them all. Don’t miss the wonderful tapestry made to a design by Raphael.

AN INSTAGRAMMER’S DREAM
The staircase at Palazzo del Podestà. It’s being renovated at the moment after the earthquake, but I love it because it’s housed some of the classrooms used by the Lucio Campiani Academy of Music for years.

A WALK WITH FRIENDS
Wander through the historic centre, admiring the beautiful palazzos and marvelling at the sumptuous views you get from the narrow streets. Follow the smell of delicious food wafting out of the restaurants and enjoy being in a city which combines aristocratic traditions with a working-class heart.

WHERE TO CAPTURE THE SUNSET
From the San Giorgio bridge, where you can drink in the city’s breath-taking skyline.

THE TASTIEST DISH
Squash tortelli, agnolini in broth and riso alla pilota – rice with local salami. Three of the best…

THE BEST PIAZZA FOR APERITIF
Piazza Erbe. As you sip, you can admire the Rotonda di San Lorenzo and the Casa del Mercante. Then all you have to do is decide which of the dozens of restaurants and pizzerias you want to finish the evening in!

WHERE TO DISCOVER HISTORY
Head to the Mantua Archaeological Museum to visit the Lovers of Valdaro, two Neolithic skeletons found with their arms and legs wrapped around one another near Mantua in 2007. It is a symbol of eternal love – a recent discovery which gives us a glimpse into Mantua 6000 years ago.

WHERE TO LOOK AT THE FUTURE
Mantua is an ancient city, but the way its inhabitants are able to preserve the spirit of the city is undoubtedly the perfect recipe for the future. It is thanks to this that we have guaranteed our present and our children’s futures.

AN EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED
Festivaletteratura. Famous in Italy and around the world, it’s a celebration of literature and its heroes, of writers and poets and of musicians and artists, all of which come together in what is a truly complete cultural experience. The festival takes place every September in the city’s churches, palazzos, courtyards and squares. One of the best venues is the Teatro Bibiena, a late Baroque masterpiece which represents an integral part of Mantua’s cultural history – and it’s my favourite theatre!

A GIANT OF THE PAST
Tazio Nuvolari, the Mantovano volante. I love cars and driving and I’m proud of what Nuvolari represents in racing history. Another of Mantua’s romantic stories is that the writer Gabriele d’Annunzio gave Nuvolari a badge in the shape of a tortoise – “the slowest animal” for the “fastest man”. What I would have given to buy his Alfa Romeo 8C-35 when it sold for an eyewatering sum at auction not long ago!

A SOUVENIR
Sbrisolona, a cake of humble origins which made it all the way to the court of the House of Gonzaga. It contains flour, semolina, sugar and chopped almonds and you’re supposed to break it up with your hands and dip it in grappa – it’s the only traditional accompaniment! You’ll find it in every bakery, pastry shop, market and supermarket in Mantua.

IF IT WERE A SONG
It would be the entrance of “La Musica” in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. It’s the start of the history of opera, with La Musica describes her power by singing: “I am Music, who in sweet accents can calm each troubled heart”. It is a sublime musical declaration of the power of music and it was the Mantuans that heard it for the first time, in February 1607, first at the Accademia degli Invaghiti and two days later at the Ducal Palace.

FOR A ONE-DAY TRIP
Go for a boat trip on the lakes of Mantua. It’s easy to hop on board right from the centre of the city and after a few minutes you’ll find yourself immersed in an amazing natural landscape. It really is surprising how close the city still is. It’s the perfect way to fully grasp the natural beauty and romance of Mantua.

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“Andrea Mantegna’s sumptuous Camera degli Sposi at Palazzo Ducale: the most beautiful bridal chamber of the world”.
Eleonora Buratto
SOPRANO

CULT CITY LIFE/ Mantua THREE UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES

NOT JUST SQUASH

Not just squash tortelli. Mantua’s gastronomic traditions draws on the House of Gonzaga’s love of cuisine, with masses of DOP-certified products

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FESTIVAL CITY

Crowds flock to Mantua every September for events with famous writers, yet the city is alive and kicking all year round. Discover all the must-see events

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NATURAL BEAUTY

Discover Mantua like never before: from the Venice-style waterways to the islands of lotus leaves. Perfect for cycling and enjoying family time

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CULT CITY GALLERY/ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PICTURES OF Mantua

Palazzo Ducale, Mantua
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Museo di Palazzo D'Arco, Mantua
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Palazzo San Sebastiano, Mantua
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Basilica di Sant' Andrea, Mantua
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Teatro Bibiena, Mantua
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Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Mantua
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Piazza Erbe, Mantua
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Parco del Mincio, Mantua
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Palazzo Te, Mantua
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Biblioteca Teresiana, Mantua
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Mantua/ TOURIST INFORMATION

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