Other Italy. Mantua

Let me invite you on a trip to Italy without tourists (such places, it turns out, is still there).

To the once glorious Italian city of Mantua, in whose stores and have not heard about TAX free, and where it is so deserted at night, that it seems possible to meet Rigoletto in the alley. Yes this his hometown, Mantua.

Once glorious in its prosperity, now abandoned heed most travelers, so atmospheric it is beautiful. On the streets only Italian is heard, blacks are completely absent guests selling flowers and branded bags that, in general, for modern Italy is already a landmark.

It is absolutely striking the city is still on the way – if you arrive at old way. Surrounded by three lakes (the fourth is dry), the city seems like an island. It is worth a ride on this road for one only the species – the locals call it “skyline” in English. And not there will be a photo here, it’s impossible to capture it properly – let it be a beautiful surprise. I can only say one thing – the impression comparable to the French city of Saint Michel.

What to do: enjoy the atmospheric streets in the city center. Look at the half-erased frescoes on the walls of the houses, they are here. everywhere. Go to the cafe – you can enjoy yourself fragrant Italian coffee (for 1 euro), drink Bellavista and Francakorta when Prosecco is already pretty tired. Go to the cafe Venezia. But about the food – separately. Later.

I’ll tell you about two places of interest that hit me before Total. Ducal Castle (Palazzo Ducale) and Palazzo Te (Palazzo Te).

Firstly, the Ducal Castle on the main square. The structure is majestic and impressive, spacious courtyard, moss-covered walls. The long absence of the restoration of the mind is not harms, on the contrary, the historical spirit is felt even more clearly. By whom, when, why the palace was built and how many rooms are there in it – you will find in guidebook Probably. If you find a guide. From myself I will say the other – the castle keeps the atmosphere of the Middle Ages and as if transfers to hundreds of years ago. I didn’t feel warming, so it’s better to get dressed warmer going there.

Duke's CastlePalace Gallery

The ticket gives the right to attend two parts – the first, famous a room with frescoes, the second is actually a castle.

Part one. To the left of the box office.

The famous room with frescoes. Describes the history of the appointment of the Duke of Mantua his son dad. Roman. Historical event, proudly pleasant, respect local visiting is necessary. We looked, went down to the exit, and here you are going to leave, but linger. Look around find a sign in the courtyard, she is there alone, Citta Ideali.Pod signboard the door we need, go ahead.

The exhibition “Perfect City” is a must-see. Seeming inconspicuous at first glance, with subtle Italian a sense of beauty reveals the idea of ​​Ideality. Layouts, sketches and books of the Renaissance begin exposition, it ends with ideas about the city of super-technological Earth and newly mastered planets. Interestingly, from the first exhibits, this the essence of the future, in its dynamics throughout several centuries. A perfect view of a perfect city like it was born, developed and what is in the eyes our contemporaries. To the rich historical heritage of the Italians do not stop adding new, lively, progressive. Development not stops, inspiration does not stop. Recommend.

Part two. To the right of the box office.

The main part of the castle-palace – incredible rooms built as if (in fact) in chronological order. At the entrance, stylized “frescoes” quotes on walls along the stairs and corridor. These are impressions of famous people. Palace, peculiar assessments and comments. Pass in spacious rooms, majestic and cold, large-scale.Me struck a picture of Rubens, which is the prototype (most likely) of his famous work that I saw two weeks before specially-pompous exhibition at the Vienna Museum of Art History. Here, simply and naturally, I find the same characters, the same hand masters, but in its place. Quiet, calm and very ine it is noticeable how it lasted for many centuries and how it should be.


Stayed in Troy’s room – you need to visit her. be sure to peer into the details of the painting and try to feel the message coming from these frescoes. Remember the legendary story too it would be nice to understand. Next – enjoy.


The rest – an incredible painting of ceilings and galleries, skill artists cheating your eyes with unexpected solutions. So i’m not restrained, touched the wall, which seemed to me marble. But no, stucco and painting … incredible! After the medieval part Suddenly you find yourself in a suite of rooms of the 18-19 centuries, and this intriguing twist. Ceilings do not cease to fascinate, transitions interspersed with mirrors, and tapestries in huge numbers wrap up every room – real! Not a reconstruction. Spirit captures, immersive full. Add to this almost complete the absence of tourists (this is in Italy, then!) – the affect is assured.



You will not find in Manteompezness and loudly enticing advertising sights or places. Knife Pearls open one after another. For example, at one from the square you see the church. Medieval, in addition, from not covered galleries are moving away (somewhat resembling Russian living rooms courtyards). Large. From the story of a local resident:

This church was discovered in the 20th century, until then the square was intensively, densely built up with houses, so that the building of the church turned inside the yard; used as storage space so long ago that no one ever remembered the primary purpose these walls. When they decided to clean the area, reconstruct the old at home, accidentally discovered the church … Below is a photo, for understanding sizes.

Found church.Oh, church! Baptistery, round building on the right, found at the same time. I love the Italians.

In Mantua, the main thing – not attractions. The most the interesting is the people. Passionate, lively, real. Gesturing, penetrating, contact. I was lucky meet the rooted mantuans, make friends with them, go to a family homemade dinner with local dishes (exclusively) the kitchen and touch the colorful everyday life local I was amazed by the style and taste: in food, in the design of apartments, books cabinets, interior. Elegant, but at the same time simple combinations – This is Italy as it is. It flowed into a local excursion on Palazzo del Te, turn.

Palazzo del Te – an amazing place not only its architectural appearance and skillful decoration, but the history and idea of ​​its occurrence. Once, at the beginning of the 16th century, Mantua ruled by the Marquise of Gonzaga. One of the representatives of this family, Federico Gonzaga, the most interesting to us, decided to build himself palace. And not just like that, but to enjoy the eyes and body.

Our hero had a domineering, proud mother. And beautiful mistress. The mistress, as usual, the mother did not approve and tried to son Reason, get rid of the maiden. And the son does not get rid of the lady’s heart I wanted, but I could not from my mother. Therefore, he chose the island surrounded by those the most four Mantu lakes and decided to build a villa there. Villa in the style of the Roman great country, stylized rustic (rustic style, in Roman). To remind him of children the years spent in Rome, and the magnificent buildings of the ancient. For this case was invited teacher Raphael, Giulio Romano, make all the dreams of the Duke, sorry, then the Marquis, oh Duchy, aesthetics and love – to life.

The palace was built and decorated for 10 years (1525-1535). Idea such: surrounded on all sides by water, the palace was connected to by land alone, and the intersection required special permission. Even for mom. Or especially for mom. So how … most of the palace was assigned to a beautiful sweetheart.

From the “female” part begins a review of the palace and the first room is dedicated to Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It is interesting that with so exalted associations, (O, Ovid!), the first thing strikes incredible erotic frescoes. Alive and true, they chain look and fascinate completely. Highly recommend to stay and peer at (although the inexperienced viewer first wants shyly look away).

Marquis-duke’s personality literally permeated every object. and angle. It is worth paying attention to the details: now on the fireplace, now in the corner of the ceiling, you can accidentally see a lizard that the duke chose its symbol, and not by chance. Semantic content here everywhere, reflecting truth and beauty, true beauty, beautiful true, even if it is not what it seems. Returning to the lizard – the marquis of Gonzaga was an extremely ardent man, mocked by reproach or showing feigned zeal to pacify their passions – chose his personal emblem cold-blooded and insensible (according to of that time) creeping. The Lizard has many meanings, and watching you, in each of the rooms.

The second hall that literally struck me was the room of Cupid and Psyche. Incredible sensuality, sharpness and depth … it’s hard to find words, truth surround you from all sides. Here are scenes from the myth, in which a beautiful maid for the beauty disliked Venus. BUT also that distracted beloved son. Here are the scenes the miseries and misfortunes that the domineering formidable mother sent her to punishment. And the desire of Cupid to connect with a beautiful nymph. And scenes praises of love and beauty in all essences and manifestations. It is clear, yes? Mama Gonzaga, if allowed into this part of the palace, bit my elbows, exactly. Thin.

Cupid and Psyche

Next, go to the male part, the master. The first room is a spacious hall, around the perimeter of the image hall of horses. And it is not just abstract horses, these are portraits of the Marquis’s horses, his favorites horses. Performed as skillfully as living photographs, also with 3D effect. In the master chambers there is something to admire: a lot symbolic moments, hints of gods and signs of greatness. Be it an eagle at the head of the bed or predicting the fate of the month of birth in zodiacal room. Be attentive.


The last part, interesting not only aesthetically, but also symbolically – one of the main reasons for the construction of the entire structure. Returning to the story: Marquis Gonzaga, who wanted to become the duke (with all the benefits and power consequences), invited the emperor Charles V to visit him. On day. Preparing for this for several years, specially arranging a suite of five rooms, to meet the distinguished guest. Enter and see: instead of nymphs, horses, pleasures, cold-majestic glorification Roman legionnaires. The triumph of Rome, the greatness of warriors. Ornament is not only handsome, but also placed in such a way that has no beginning or end, the march closes in the endless continuation of the movement to glory and power. The following rooms continue this idea and reveal the course of movement continues to flatter the emperor (as planned). Apotheosis – last room: Hall of Giants. The central theme of the image: the overthrow of the Titans by Zeus, and in perspective (vertical, please to notice), over the head of the thunderer, we see the throne and the eagle. Characters roman empire. Think of this elegant, powerful flattery. So the manner of the ingenious marquis of Gonzaga became the duke of Gonzaga. By getting in possession of Mantua. And the emperor lingered on another.

Ceiling of the Hall of GiantsThe ceiling of the hall of giants (titans)

Before leaving the palace, find the secret garden. Mosaic, murals and the secret grotto restored from the time of construction. Opposite the grotto is a small courtyard, around the perimeter of the courtyard, look, the fables of Aesop (we easily recognize the fables of Krylov in them), the frescoes opposite – The circle of life, cyclical, naturally, and uninterrupted. Take a good look.

I was lucky to hear it all (with my eyes I saw a lot myself, but all the same) from an incredible man, once attache on the culture of Italy in the embassy of Yugoslavia. Separately, I want to note very successful the name of our improvised excursion, for so it is felt: “Refresh your sexual instinct.” So how is it life, essence, beauty and truth. At the exit, she winks, slyly playful. You are in Italy!

After this, I want to say: “In vino veritas!” drink up. Especially if you, like me, travel without a couple … Let’s go look Mantua bars. I will mark a couple, first, Che ce ce. In the heart of the old city, crowded, noisy, soulful, fun. There you have to watch people, meet, talk, collect stories. Drinking is simple, very simple – drink local wine, everything. The second is Sketch Bar, the host is a sommelier who is keen on. Will listen wishes, will recommend, and even replace wine, if you don’t liked. Drink: as I mentioned above, the sparkling BELLAVISTA and Franciacorta is a classic. From the unusual ask for sparkling on the taste of the host. Specific, very interesting – unfiltered unrefined biologically natural sparkling wine, such I do not tested. Even if you do not like it, provoke the receptors get exactly. My leader is a quiet white donkey wine (an invention of the author, but you will definitely understand, a donkey on the label). Label also for good reason, the winery and the vineyard are still used donkeys for transporting harvested grapes (especially areas, and there is nothing to replace pack). The official name is grape variety, CARICALASINO. Of red definitely AMARONE.

Do not forget to eat! Be sure to try the local one. the kitchen. There are many Mantua specialties in Mantua (for me it’s up to so far, surprisingly, in Russia I have not seen this, and in others European cities of such abundance and diversity It was not me that I met). The main and most famous: TORTELLI DI ZUCCA (this is pasta, well, almost), Konin (her began to actively eat after the Napoleonic wars, when in all the battles of the neighborhood were killed … Well, you understand, I had to eat horses, and tasted). Cakes: soft helveti and similar to SBRISOLONA cookies (do not wait for a fork, eat with your hands).

Feeding full of spirit and stomach, take a walk through the night lanes (crime is not noticed). Feel the city of the beautiful dukes and true Italians who love life. We did it by singing the song of the duke of Mantuan from Rigoletto Verdi (“Heart beauties … “), especially effectively it can be done on the main square, standing with his back to the ducal palace, looking at CASA DI RIGOLETTO (the plate is, do not get lost). I’ll finish humming the words from the same song: “… but not falling in love (drawling) all you can’t … ”

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