Historic Centre of Mantua

Mantua, Italy

Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy. Mantua's 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's play Romeo and Juliet. It is also the nearest town to the birthplace of the Roman writer, Virgil.

Mantua traces stem from the Roman period. It was renovated in the 15th and 16th centuries - including hydrological engineering, urban and architectural works. The participation of renowned architects like Leon Battista Alberti and Giulio Romano, and painters like Andrea Mantegna, makes Mantua a prominent capital of the Renaissance.

In 2007, Mantua's centro storico (old town) and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site.

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Details

Founded: 15th century
Category: Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Italy

Rating

3.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Sara Negro (3 years ago)
Bello
Federico Salvi (3 years ago)
Everything was nice and clean
Alon Arad (3 years ago)
The hotel is located across the railway, 15 minutes from the center. The facilities were quite poor and the staff were unhelpful and unfriendly. Breakfast was fine
Sharad Agnihotri (3 years ago)
Good place under 3* category hotels opposite Mantova train station
Maria Pia Natale (4 years ago)
A good Place in front of the rail station, good price and a huge breakfast included. I really liked it. The room was very clean and confortable.
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Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).