Things to Do in Mantua
Piazza delle Erbe is one of Mantua’s most popular squares—and certainly one of its most dynamic. Lined with outdoor cafes, restaurants and churches, the piazza is a popular place to enjoy sunshine, company and local flavor. A 15th-century clock tower marks the square’s southern end, adjacent to the city's oldest church, the 11th-century Rotonda di San Lorenzo. While Piazza delle Erbe is great for an afternoon coffee or glass of wine at a sidewalk café, the area is most often visited on walking tours that highlight its top attractions, including the Rotonda di San Lorenzo, nearby Palazo della Ragione and the iconic clock tower.
Palazzo Te is a half-hour’s enjoyable walk from the heart of gorgeous Mantua, a wonderfully OTT summer palace built for Federico II Gonzaga between 1525 and 1535. Designed by Renaissance architect Giulio di Piero Pippi de’ Iannuzzi (known as Romano), the palace was Federico’s retreat from royal life, which centered on the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza Sordello. A seemingly endless series of lavishly adorned apartments were decorated by leading artists of the day and reflect his pet obsessions with love, horses and astrology, from statuesque equine portraits in the Hall of the Horses to alarmingly suggestive frescoes by Romano in the Chamber of Amor and Psyche.