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Mantova One of the Italian cities of art of the most fascinating ...

Located 80 km from our farm, Mantova is one of the most charming italian cities. It is called the city of the three lakes although actually a lake itself does not exist: the waters that bathe on three sides are those of the Mincio, which widens its course here in a great bend, forming a basin divided by two bridges in lakes Superior, Middle and Lower. The city, which was the home of the Latin poet Virgil,  owes its former greatness and its beautiful monuments to the families that have ruled over the centuries, in particular the rule of the Gonzaga, who from humble peasant origins were able to conquer the city in 1328 and to govern it for almost four centuries, leaving a wonderful witness of his glory.

Since 2008 Mantova with Sabbioneta, both united by the legacy left to them by Gonzaga, was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco as an exceptional example of artistic achievements, urban and architectural renaissance. Mantova has a large number of monuments  all preserved with care and love: churches, synagogues, palaces, museums, historic nuclei tied to the events of his past, art galleries, charming corners, alleys, streets and squares lined with ancient street furniture.

A place definitely worth visiting is the cathedral dedicated to St. Peter, with its imposing neoclassical facade in Carrara marble topped by statues of the patron saints of the city. The church, of very ancient origins, keeps the interior rebuilt to a design by Giulio Romano and numerous works of art by great artists such as Antonio Maria Viani, ippolito andreasi, Nicholas Ricciolini and Bernardini Malpizzi. Of particular interest la Basilica of St. Andrew, the largest church in Mantova. Designed by Leon Battista Alberti, it was built starting in 1472 and completed in the seventeenth century. In the first chapel on the left there is the tomb of Andrea Mantegna and his bronze bust, which seems to have been performed by the artist himself; The frescoes on the walls are of painters of his school. Among the other churches should be delivered: the Rotunda of San Lorenzo, the oldest church in the city, built in the eleventh century during the rule of Canossa; the Church of San Sebastian, designed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1460 in original shapes, anticipating some aspects of Renaissance architecture; and the Church of San Francesco, with the Gonzaga chapel decorated with precious frescoes of 1300. Also worth visiting the Jewish Synagogue Norsa Torrazzo, which was moved and faithfully rebuilt in its current location, when it was decided the demolition of the Jewish Quarter, between 1899 and 1902.

Among the palaces of Mantua stands Palazzo Ducale, a magnificent architectural complex consisting of several buildings connected by corridors and galleries, and enriched with courtyards and large gardens. Ancient palace of the Gonzaga, the complex is the harmonious result of the combination of different styles in different eras. It is part of the Palazzo Ducale the Castle of San Giorgio, in which are preserved important historical and artistic sites of Mantova of the past, among which we mention the famous Camera Picta, better known as the Bridal Chamber, frescoed by Andrea Mantegna between 1465 and 1474. Among other architectures should be delivered: Palazzo Te, a huge  suburban villa commissioned, in 1525, by Federico II Gonzaga, and Giulio Romano in the locality called the Tejeto; Palazzo San Sebastiano, of which you can admire in particular the wonderful Loggia dei Marmi and many frescoes of nearly four centuries of history of Gonzaga in Mantova; Palazzo del Podestà, also known as Broletto Palace, built in the thirteenth century and modified in the fifteenth century as a result of damage caused by fire; Palazzo D'Arco, the realization of which its designer, Antonio Colonna, was inspired by the forms of Palladian architecture; and Mantegna's House, built in 1476 and inhabited until 1496 by the artist who decorated the interior.

In the city there are also various towers, among which are: the Clock Tower, built in 1472 and designed by Luca Fancelli; the Tower of the cage (torre della Gabbia), which, with its 55 meters high, stands in Mantova scene; the Torre degli Zuccaro, also known in dialect as "Tor dal Sucar", sugar tower; and the Tower of Gambulini, already existing in 1200, deriving its name from the family that owned it.  In addition to fascinating architecture, Mantova also offers a large number of museums scattered throughout its territory, including, in addition to the Doge's Palace Museum and the Civic Museum of Palazzo Te, must be reported: the Museum of the City of Mantova, with an important group of works that tells the most emblematic moments in Mantova's history and some pieces of its great artistic civilization; the National Archaeological Museum, with Neolithic remains, from the Bronze Age, Etruscan, Venetians, Celts, Romans, Lombards, Goths, medieval and Renaissance all from the province of Mantova; the Diocesan Museum Francesco Gonzaga, housed in the main cloister of the former Augustinian monastery of St. Agnes, a building steeped in history; and the Numismatic Museum (museo Numismatico), which constitutes, together with that made by the King of Italy Vittorio Emanuele III and exhibited at Palazzo Massimo in Rome, the most comprehensive collection of ancient coins and medals of Mantova and Gonzaga.

As for the cuisine, the Mantova cuisine is deeply linked to ancient traditions, and reflects a strong connection with neighboring areas. In particular, the city is considered a land of the pumpkin production, still the undisputed star of the typical local dishes, such as the famous Tortelli with pumpkin. Also try: Bigoli with Sardines, seasoned with salted sardines and oil; Braised donkey, which can be eaten alone with his cooking sauce, polenta, or can be used to dress the macaroni with the press or as a filling in agnolini; the chicken alla Gonzaga, a reworking in use in the Mantuan family of the  1662 recipe of the ducal chef Bartolomeo Stefani; and Sbrisolona, ​​delicious cake which takes its name from the dialect "brise" crumbs, because the pie dough should be very brittle and thus be reduced to crumbs.

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