Italy, Mantova – Pearl of Italian Renaissance
Towns and cities in northern Italy ensure its world fame and attention of many art enthusiast. These towns were built during the 14th and 16th centuries by rich townsmen and fans of antic culture. The word renaissance is derived from Italian word rinascito (rebirth), i.e. renewed admiration of art, literature and values of antic Rome.
One of that cities that have been preserved, from architectonic point of view, since its renaissance period is Mantova that is also in UNESCO’s world heritage site list.
The history of the city goes down deep to the era of the Etruscans. Then the settlement was located on a small island in a marshland. Three vast lakes on the Mincio river which make boarders of the city from the north and add to its view were finished in the 17th century. It was when marshes were drained of water and water streams were regulated. In 70 BC, famous Roman-era poet Virgil was born here. His works became popular again during renaissance. The poet was respected by Mantovanians. His large statue decorates a large park in the town.
The religious importance of Mantova was large. Since the 9Th century Mantova has been residence of bishopric. Today, the oldest church in the town is San Lorenzo rotund which was built in the 11th century. It is a copy of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. A very precious relic, the blood of Christ, had been held in here. You can climb to a double gallery after paying a fee and admire what remained of Byzantine frescoes. From the outside, you can notice a difference in terrain height, there a later built town hall with astronomical clock stands.
Mantova’s golden age began in the first half of the 14th century and lasted for three hundred years. In this time, Gonzaga dynasty owned the city. The Gonzagas were prosperous family, expanded their palaces, paved and expanded streets, called architects and artists from Florence, or were involved in science and politics. Culture flourished in the town. Towards the end of the 16th century, 40 thousand people lived in Mantova as many as today. Such architects like Leon Battista Alberti and Luca Fancelli, artists like Donatello, Peter Paul Rubnes or painters like Andrea Mantega all of them left their trace here. The latter being buried in Sant'Andrea church.
Impressive structure of impenetrable St George castle (Castello di San Giorgio) is hard to miss. It has huge prism towers and is surrounded with water moat. The Gonzagas expanded the castle and built there Palazzo Ducale, a vast structure with many courtyards. Today it is a museum that holds precious art works.
After the Gonzaga family died out, art collection was looted by enemy invaders. Still, however, you can admire number of tapestries, statues, paintings, historical furniture and fantastic palaces – empress’ chambers, halls and courtyards. In the town’s south part, there is Palazzo Te which is a great example of transformation of renaissance to mannerism.
Among coutles churches in Mantova the best one is St Peter’s dome in Piazza Sordello. The 18th century structure stands on Gothic foundation the façade being made of Carrar marble. Inside your eyes will gaze at rich deciration of the main nave and adjacent streets, cassette ceiling, and the altar. The boy of city’s patron Sant'Anselmo da Baggio is buried under the church.
Some plots of great literary works take place in Mantova. For instance, Romea who flees in here from Verona 35 kilometers away to get away from the Kapulet wrath. Or Duke of Mantova who is the main character in Verdi’s Rigoletto. There is a small memorial to the opera in the small museum of Rigoletto the Fool.
Mantova is the right book for historian and architects as well as it is a vibrant and authentic city with atmosphere. There are no crowds to push through like in Verona when you go under the balcony of Julia. Here you can walk in city nooks all alone. Or just go along vast lakes. There are entire water lily islands from June to September.
GPS: 45°09'36.4"N 10°47'49.7"E
Text: Radka Snížková
Photo: Radka Snížková, wikipedia.org: Massimo Telò
We have probably all heard it: "See Naples and die." Yes, Naples is beautiful, but it is also rough, authentic and dirty. Maybe that's why it will be etched under your skin. Half-dilapidated houses, smelly piles of garbage, but you go a little further and breathe the atmosphere of real Italy. Naples is considered the cradle of modern delicacy, which is nothing but pizza. We also plan to taste the real Neapolitan pizza.
Mountainous, green Gargano peninsula is located in Puglia, a south-Italian region. Except for holidaymakers, the peninsula is popular among European botanists for there are up to 85 species of orchid, and remains of Mediterranean forest known as Foresta Umbra.
If you have grown tired of Czech New Year's Eve celebrations and you intend to try out something new (possibly some travelling included) I recommend you to visit Verona, Italy. The flight ticket price to Milano is very affordable. However, you need to buy in advance because a flight ticket on New Year's Eve or the New Year can get really costly.
Siena is situated in central Tuscany, the cradle of Reneissance. Its people are often considered a nation within a nation.
Right after Milano, Bergamo is Lombardia's most popular city. It consists of two parts - Citta Alta, the historic center spread over hills, and Citta Bassa, vibrant and lively financial hub. Both parts are joined by a cable car. Moreover, both are split by mighty 16th century Venetian ramparts.
Join us on a trip to the northeast corner of Italy, to the city that gave rise to the renowned Prosecco wine. But not just it. Do you love sweet dessert as much as we do? If so, then Treviso will be true paradise for you. It is here that the most famous Italian dessert - tiramisu - originates.
Let's look at the city formed by a single architect. Halfway between Verona and Venice, you will find Vincenza, home to one hundred thousand and also to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Do you plan to spend your holidays in Italy this summer? How about at least once trying to swap the sea for a lake. I promise that you will not regret this decision.
Sometimes I get the impression that this part of Italy is a bit forgotten, and yet it is so beautiful. Calabria is located in the south of the Apennine Peninsula and is known mainly for its long beaches, beautiful landscape, national parks, nature and great cuisine.
Arco is a paradise for climbers in Italy. There are more than 20 climbing areas of varying difficulties and lengths. Everybody, boulders or fans of ferratas, will love the place. The town is a very pleasant place. Its picturesque town center has many restaurants and also climbers’ stores. A castle is the main landmark of Arco. It guards the town from the heights.
Picturesque city. Even though these two words don’t usually come along in case of Bolzano they do.
This national reservation located only few kilometers from Naples is a place with top-class services for demanding customers is also a place where top companies have their representation. On a small area live quite lot of inhabitants prospering from tourism.
We are leaving the Gulf of Napoli beloved by artists. We are heading to a Mediterranean island which came to existence as a result of volcanic activity in the end of Tertiary. It has been forming for millions of years to the terrain formation we happen to know as Ischia.
I used to be a tour guide in Venice. I wanted to show tourists important artists and the works they created in this city where, or near, they lived and worked. Basilica dei Frari – a monumental cathedral near the Rialto bridge offered several types.
Most of Canova’s well-known statues exist in some form as plaster models, they are of marble as well. It shows masters effort to make his work perfect.
Today we continue in our walks through Genoa, one of the main cities of Italian culture and history. In the last weeks we have learned something on Piazza Ferrari or Piazza Giacomo Matteoti. Today we look at another parts of the city, hopefully we help you to get in the mood for the summer and give you inspiration for prospective vacation.
You could have read about Italy, its regions and cities some of our articles. However, we have not written about one of the most famous Italian cities, Genoa.
Carnevale di Venezia, the Carnival in Venice, is the most famous Carnival in Europe. Every year it drags myriads of visitors from all-around the world.
Today we visit ancient city of Padova and its medieval streets in northern Italy.
Lago di Garda is a very popular place for active vacations. The area surrounding the largest Italian lake is famous for its landscape, bike trails, climbing opportunities, via ferrata and the lake itself is a windsurfing paradise.
Nago is only one of many rocky formations in this area which offers great climbing. This formation offers more than 135 roads of various difficulties (from 4a to 7c+).
Shores of the Gargano peninsula has up to 50-meter high limestone cliffs with caves and white bea...
Water treatment in nature of a green island. This is why thousands of turists come here. Sometime...
Carnevale di Venezia or The Venetian Carnivalattracts large numbers of tourists to Venice every s...
One summer evening in Venice...
Foto: Jan Chaloupka, July 2012
A walk in Agrigento (approx. 50 thousand inhabitans) means to be lost in hilly lab...
Explore with us once again the mighty ruins of ancient city of Akragas.
Text/photo: Maxim Kucer
Valle dei Templi is only a mere shadow of the then monumental Greek complex which was a pride of ...
Sicilly is the largest Mediterranean island. Her atmosphere is as aweesome as is the heat of her ...
Welcome to Pompeii, a city that was the pride of the Roman Empire and finished by natural disaste...