Mantova, the capital of Matilde di Canossa and of the Gonzaga family, is an enchanted island surrounded by three lakes formed by the Mincio.
The monumental scenography of the Gonzaga period, the marvelous frescoes of the Mantegna family, the splendid inventions of Giulio Romano in the Tea Palace, the churches; the patrician houses narrate the history.
A few kilometers from Mantova, we can admire the beautiful Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine alle Grazie, the Benedictine Abbey of Polirone, in San Benedetto Po, the small village parishes, and the old courts.
Mirage in the fertile countryside is Sabbioneta, the “small Athens” of Vespasiano Gonzaga.
According to legend the town was founded by the soothsayer Manto when he fled from Thebes; Mantua enters history with the Etruscans. It goes from Roman rule to the barbarian invasions until, around 1000 A.D. it becomes part of the feudal dominions of the Canossa.
It becomes a free commune in the XII and XIII centuries, continuing to grow while the unhealthy marsh by which it surrounded is drained and reclaimed. In 1237 Pinamonte Bonacolsi comes to power and consolidates its economic prosperity until 1328, when control passes to Luigi Gonzaga, founder of the dynasty to which Mantua owes most of its artistic beauty. It is, in fact, under Gonzaga rule that Mantua becomes notably more important politically, enjoys economic prosperity and is acknowledged as a primary center of culture and Renaissance art.
The family residence soon becomes one of the largest and most magnificent palaces in Europe.
Mantegna frescoes the bride and bridegroom’s bedroom, L.B.Alberti designs the churches of Saint Andrew and Saint Sebastian and Giulio Romano builds the Palazzo del Te.
Damaged by the War of Succession, decimated by the plague, the city declines rapidly.
The Gonzaga dynasty falls in 1707 and the city passes into the hands of the Austrians. In 1866 Mantua becomes part of the Italian State.
Renowned for its architectural splendor and medieval charm, Mantua is a town rich in history and ducal splendor, the city of Virgil, greatest of Roman poets, of Mantegna, among the best Renaissance painters, of the Gonzaga, one of the most remarkable of Italian princely families, situated on the River Mincio, Milton’s “smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds”.
The Ducal Palace and Palazzo Te are the two main attractions of a cultural itinerary in town, identified by the image of the salamander.
Leaving the castle, Castello di San Giorgio, one enters Piazza Sordello, which is, together with its surroundings, the original center of the town.
end of the book excerpt. You have the full content at: “Mantua a complete guide“
Where to stay in Mantua
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Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy
Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.
The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy
Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.
Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.
The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)