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From Lake Garda to Mantua – In March, we were finally back on Lake Garda and of course, we did a lot of traveling. This time we went on a day trip from Lake Garda to the historic city of Mantua, also known as Mantova.

Mantua lies to the south of Lake Garda and is only 45 minutes from the southern part of Lake Garda (Peschiera) from Limone on Lake Garda and is known for its historical and cultural significance. Surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes and the river Mincio, which were created for defense purposes, the city offers a picturesque townscape and a rich history.

Parking in Mantua

Parking in Mantua was no problem for us in March. We cannot judge what the situation is like in the summer months. We used the paid parking lot “Gonzaga”. One hour’s parking here costs 1.90 euros, the maximum daily rate is 6 euros. This parking lot supports Telepass, so we were able to use our toll box from Maut1.

From Lake Garda to Manua - Gonzaga parking lot
In addition to an outdoor parking lot, there is also a parking garage. The parking lot is also suitable for campers.

Further examples of parking facilities in Mantua:

  • via Scarsellini, APCOA, subject to charge
  • Piazza San Giovanni, partly free but difficult to find a free space
  • Piazza Carlo D’Arco, 46100 Mantova MN, Italy (subject to charge with parking ticket)
  • Pradella Parking, Via Camerlenghi, parking garage, hourly rate 1,- Euro, maximum 5,- Euro

From Lake Garda to Mantua – City Tour

Our trip began with a smart decision: We bought a self-guided historical tour from GetYourGuide for an unbeatable 6.99 euros. An absolute bargain that allowed us to explore the history of Mantua at our own pace by simply sharing the headphones.

Powered by GetYourGuide

This tour was not only educational, but also gave us the opportunity to solve little puzzles, which was an exciting experience for both children and adults. Our adventure began around midday when we arrived in Mantova. Before immersing ourselves in history, we fortified ourselves in a local restaurant – the perfect start to a day full of discoveries.

Places of interest in Mantua

Our first stop took us to the Castello di San Giorgio. This is a fortress that was built between 1395 and 1406. The castle bears witness to Mantua’s eventful history and once served as a fortress for the powerful Gonzaga family, who led the city through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Castello di San Giorgio Mantua

The tour continued to the setting of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto”, an opera full of passion and intrigue. The opera is performed in the open-air arena in Verona. Although Rigoletto never actually lived in Mantua, this house, which used to be the residence of the canons and is now a tourist office, was chosen for the opera to build a bridge between Verdi’s fantasy and our reality.

You’ll also find a bronze statue of Rigoletto here, which was erected in the garden in 1978… We would have actually just walked past the house without this digital tour.

The next stop on our tour was the Palazzo Ducale, the centerpiece of the Gonzaga legacy in Mantua. This complex palace bears witness to the power and splendor of the Gonzaga family, who controlled the fortunes of the city for centuries.

Palazzo Ducale Mantua

We continued on to Piazza Virgiliana in the heart of Mantua, which is not only an idyllic place of peace and beauty, but also a profound homage to one of the most influential figures in Italian cultural history: the Roman poet Virgil. It must also be said that we had really great weather.

Totally thirsty, we had to take an Aperol break in between, which in our opinion should not be missed. The Piazza delle Erbe in the center of Mantua is a great place to watch the people.

Mantua Piazza Virgiliana - View of the statue of Virgil

Our journey continued right next to the bar, the tour would not be complete without a visit to the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, one of the oldest churches in the city, whose roots go back to Roman times. The church’s connection with the history and heritage of Mantua made this place an unforgettable stop on our tour.

Another highlight was a visit to the Basilica of Sant’Andrea, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture by Leon Battista Alberti. The basilica houses a vial of Christ’s blood and is still an important place of pilgrimage today. So, that was the end of the tour and we enjoyed a delicious pistachio ice cream.

From Lake Garda to Mantua – our conclusion

Mantua enchanted us with its history, its architecture and the lively stories that run through the city.

Due to its proximity to Lake Garda, a day trip is definitely worthwhile. A thumbs up from us!

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