Mantova – From the Historic center to Porta Cerese (Purple Path)

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This itinerary starts from the area facing the Rio, near Piazza Martiri di Belfiore. Here, crossing over the canal, one can see the Pescherie, built by Giulio Romano in 1534; it is a double, rusticated portico with round arches, where once the fish market was held.
In the same square bordering the Rio, stands the isolated bell tower of San Domenico, the only part that has survived of the medieval church of that name.
Walking along via Mazzini, 16th century buildings can be seen while, a little ahead, stands the Church of Santa Teresa, built in 1668 next to its convent.

Turning left, in via Giulio Romano, beyond the corner with via Nazario Sauro, is the deconsecrated Church of the Carmelino built in the 18th century with the adjoining convent of which only the cloister has survived.

Turning right to via Vittorino da Feltre, where the street expands into a square, one can see the Church of Santo Spirito, completely altered in recent times; inside traces of a pictorial decoration date back to the end of the 15th century. In the small church square a memorial stone recalls the great humanist Vittorino da Feltre, who lived at the court of the Gonzaga family from 1423 to 1446.

Going back to via Giulio Romano, one reaches via Isabella d’ Este, where the Church of San Lorenzino stands. This small church, now used as an Evangelical church, dates back to 1590 and is attributed to architect Giuseppe Dattari.

Mantova Camera degli Specchi
Mantova Camera degli Specchi – Photo © jikamajoja

The itinerary proceeds to the right to via Frattini, with its interesting private buildings. At number 5, worthy of mention is the Menozzi House, of the second half of the 15th century, built from a design by Florentine architect Luca Fancelli. At number 7, Palazzo Valenti, begun in the second half of the 17th century but never completed. The imposing facade with its five orders of windows is unusual for the contrast between the marble parts and the brickwork. At number 9, is Andreasi’s House, home of the Blessed Osanna Andreasi; the present layout of the building is by Luca Fancelli and dates back to the second half of the 15th century. The facade, one a brickwork base, has three orders of windows; the entrance door is crowned by a small round arch.
Opposite stands the Church of Sant’Egidio, of ancient origins, but rebuilt in the 18th century, its facade is characterised by half-columns.

At the end of the street, once reaches via Benzoni, with the Church of Sant’Apollonia. Already existing in the Middle Ages under the name Santa Maria di Betlemme it was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century. Inside, on the main altar, is a fine 18th century painting by Giuseppe Bottani depicting the Holy Family with Saints.

In corso Garibaldi, behind piazza dei Mille and beyond a wall, one can see the facade of the church which belonged to the Monastery of Santa Paola. The church, now deconsecrated, was built in the first half of the 15th century in late Gothic style.
A little further on is the Church of Santa Caterina, of medieval origin, rebuilt in 1738. It has an elegantly pleasing curved facade; the ancient bell tower, separate from the church, stands in the courtyard behind.

Finally, in via Gradaro, the Church of Santa Maria del Gradaro, built in the 14th century, is worth a visit.

Where to stay in Mantua

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