Mantova, the Renaissance city of the Gonzagas

Dec 30, 2018 710

BY: Clare Speak

About 40 kilomtres south of Lake Garda in the flattest part of Lombardy, Mantova is a compact city hemmed in by artificial lakes on three sides; a fortification that has separated the town from the outside world for nearly a thousand years. Its water-bound location on the plains means it gets hot and humid in summer, and famously foggy in winter.

Some people call Mantova a “mini Florence,” dripping in Renaissance art and with a dark history full of intrigue. Where Florence had the Medici family, Mantova had the Gonzagas, a dynasty that ruled the city for nearly four centuries; ruthlessly murdering their enemies, making powerful connections with Rome and the Catholic church, and commissioning the finest Renaissance craftsmen they could find to build elaborate palaces and stuff them with treasures.

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