Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name.
Mantua historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera, and the city is known for its several architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces or palazzi, and its medieval and Renaissance cityscape.
It is the town to which Romeo was banished in William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. It is also the nearest town to the birthplace of the Roman writer, Virgil.
The Gonzagas protected the arts and culture, and were hosts to several important artists such as Leone Battista Alberti, Andrea Mantegna, Giulio Romano, Donatello, Peter Paul Rubens, Pisanello, Domenico Fetti, Luca Fancelli and Nicolò Sebregondi. Though many of the masterworks have been dispersed, the cultural value of Mantua is nonetheless outstanding, with many of Mantua's patrician and ecclesiastical buildings being uniquely important examples of Italian architecture.
Main landmarks include:
- The Palazzo Te (1525–1535), a creation of Giulio Romano (who lived in Mantua in his final years) in the mature Renaissance style, with some hints of a post-Raphaelian mannerism. It was the summer residential villa of Frederick II of Gonzaga. It hosts the Museo Civico (with the donations of Arnoldo Mondadori, one of the most important Italian publishers, and Ugo Sissa, a Mantuan architect who worked in Iraq from where he brought back important Mesopotamian artworks).
- The Palazzo Ducale, famous residence of the Gonzaga family, made up of a number of buildings, courtyards and gardens gathered around the Palazzo del Capitano, the Magna Domus, and the Castle of St. George.
- The Basilica of Sant'Andrea.
- The Duomo Cathedral.
- The Rotonda di San Lorenzo.
- The Bibiena Theater.
- The church of San Sebastiano.
- The Palazzo Vescovile ("Bishops Palace").
- The Palazzo degli Uberti.
- The Torre della Gabbia ("Cage Tower").
- The Palazzo del Podestà which hosts the museum of Tazio Nuvolari.
- The Palazzo della Ragione with the Torre dell'Orologio ("Clock Tower").
- The Palazzo Castiglioni Bonacolsi.
- The Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga, an example of Baroque architecture and decoration, with frescoes attributed to Flemish painter Frans Geffels. The façade of the palace was designed by Nicolò Sebregondi.