Mantua: Wikis


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—  Comune  —
Comune di Mantova
Mantua Duomo

Coat of arms
Mantua is located in Italy
Location of Mantua in Italy
Coordinates: 45°10′N 10°48′E / 45.167°N 10.8°E / 45.167; 10.8
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Mantua (MN)
Frazioni Castelletto Borgo, Cittadella, Formigosa, Frassino, Gambarara, Lunetta, Virgiliana
 - Mayor Fiorenza Brioni (Democratic Party)
 - Total 64 km2 (24.7 sq mi)
Elevation 19 m (62 ft)
Population (31 June 2009)
 - Total 48,353/100.000
 Density 7.6/km2 (19.6/sq mi)
 - Demonym Mantovani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 46100
Dialing code 0376
Patron saint Anselm of Lucca, the Younger
Saint day March 18
Website Official website
Mantua and Sabbioneta*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Palazzo Ducale
State Party  Italy
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii
Reference 1287
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2008  (32nd Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Mantua (Italian: Màntova About this sound listen , in the local dialect of Emilian language Mantua) is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. the metropolitan area has a population of 100,000 inhabitants of Mantua

Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes created during the 12th century.[1] These receive the waters from the Mincio, which descend from Lake Garda. The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, and Lago Inferiore ("Superior", "Middle", and "Inferior" Lakes).[2] A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once completed a defensive water ring of the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century.



The city was founded, probably around 2000 BC[citation needed], on the banks of the Mincio, on a sort of island which provided natural protection. In the 6th century BC it was an Etruscan village which, in Etruscan tradition, was re-founded by Ocnus[3].

The name derives from the Etruscan god Mantus, of Hades. After being conquered by the Cenomani, a Gallic tribe, the city was conquered by the Romans between the first and second Punic wars, confusing its name with Manto, a daughter of Tyresia (Tiresias). The new territory was populated by veteran soldiers of Augustus. Mantua's most famous ancient citizen is the poet Publius Vergilius Maro, Virgil (Mantua me genuit), who was born near the city in 70 B.C.[4]

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Mantua was invaded in turn by Byzantines, Longobards and Franks. In the 11th century it became a possession of Boniface of Canossa, marquis of Toscana. The last ruler of the family was the countess Matilda of Canossa (d. 1115), who, according to legend, ordered the construction of the precious Rotonda di San Lorenzo (1082).

After the death of Matilde of Canossa, Mantua became a free commune, and strenuously defended itself from the Holy Roman Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1198 Alberto Pitentino optimised the course of the Mincio, creating what Mantuans call "the four lakes" to reinforce the city's natural protection. Between 1215 and 1216 the city was under the podesteria of the Guelph Rambertino Buvalelli.

During the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, Pinamonte Bonacolsi took advantage of the chaotic situation to seize power in 1273. His family ruled Mantua for the next century, making it more prosperous and artistically beautiful. On August 16, 1328, the last Bonacolsi, Rinaldo, was overthrown in a revolt backed by the House of Gonzaga, a family of officials. Luigi Gonzaga, who had been podestà of the city in 1318, was elected "People's Captain". The Gonzaga built new walls with five gates and renovated the architecture of the city in the 14th century, but the political situation in the city did not settle until the third Gonzaga, Ludovico I Gonzaga, eliminated his relatives, seizing power for himself. During the Renaissance, the Gonzaga family softened their despotic rule of Mantua and raised the level of culture and refinement in Mantua.[5]

Through a payment of 120,000 golden florins in 1433, Gianfrancesco I was appointed marquis of Mantua by Emperor Sigismund, whose daughter Barbara of Brandenburg he married. In 1459 Pope Pius II held a diet in Mantua to proclaim a crusade against the Turks. Under Francesco II the famous Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna worked in Mantua as court painter, producing some of his most outstanding works.

The first Duke of Mantua was Federico II Gonzaga, who acquired the title from Emperor Charles V in 1530. Federico commissioned Giulio Romano to build the famous Palazzo Te, on the periphery of the city, and profoundly improved the urbanistic asset of the city. About Mantua, the poet Torquato Tasso in 1586 wrote:

This is a very beautiful city and one worth travelling a thousand miles to see.

In 1624 Francesco IV moved the Ducal seat to a new residence, the Villa de la Favorita, designed by the architect Nicolò Sebregondi.

Ludovico Gonzaga receiving the news of his son Francesco being elected cardinal, fresco by Andrea Mantegna in the Stanza degli Sposi of Palazzo Ducale.

In 1627, the direct line of the Gonzaga family came to an end with the vicious and weak Vincenzo II, and the town slowly declined under the new rulers, the Gonzaga-Nevers, a cadet French branch of the family. The War of the Mantuan Succession broke out, and in 1630 an Imperial army of 36,000 Landsknecht mercenaries besieged Mantua, bringing the plague with them. Mantua never recovered from this disaster. Ferdinand Carlo IV, an inept ruler whose only aim was to hold parties and theatrical representations, allied with France in the Spanish Succession War. After the latter's defeat, he took refuge in Venice, carrying with him a thousand pictures. At his death, in 1708, he was declared deposed and his family lost Mantua forever in favour of the Habsburgs of Austria.

Under Austrian rule, Mantua enjoyed a revival, and during this period the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts, the Scientific Theatre, and numerous Palaces were built.

On June 4, 1796, during the Napoleonic Wars, Mantua was besieged by Napoleon as a move against Austria, who joined the First Coalition. Austrian and Russian attempts to break the siege failed, but spread the French thin enough to abandon the siege on 31 July to fight other battles. The siege resumed on August 24. In early February the city surrendered and the region came under French administration. Two years later, in 1799, the city was retaken by the Austrians.

Later, the city was again passed to Napoleon's control. In the year 1810 by Porta Giulia, a gate of the town at Borgo di Porto (Cittadella), Andreas Hofer was shot; he had led the insurrection of the Tyrol against Napoleon.

After the brief French rule, Mantua returned to Austria in 1814, becoming one of the Quadrilatero fortress cities in northern Italy. Agitation against Austria culminated in a revolt which lasted from 1851 to 1855, and was finally suppressed by the Austrian army. One of the most famous episodes of Italian Risorgimento took place in the valley of Belfiore, when a group of rebels was hanged by the Austrians.

In 1866, Mantua was incorporated in united Italy by the king of Sardinia.

See also:

Houses on a canal in Mantua.
Details of Clock Tower.

Main sights

The Gonzaga protected art and culture, and hosted several important artists like Leone Battista Alberti, Andrea Mantegna, Giulio Romano, Donatello, Peter Paul Rubens, Pisanello, Domenico Fetti, Luca Fancelli and Nicolò Sebregondi. Though many of the masterworks have been dispersed, the cultural value of Mantua is nonetheless outstanding. Many monuments furnish examples of unique patrimony in patrician buildings and Italian architecture.

Main monuments include:

Palazzo Te.
Teatro Scientifico of Mantua.
  • The Palazzo Te (1525–1535), a creation of Giulio Romano (who lived in Mantua in his final years) in the style of mature Renaissance and with some hints of a certain post-Raphaelian mannerism. It was the summer residential villa of Frederick II of Gonzaga. It hosts the Museo Civico (with the donations of Arnoldo Mondadori, one of the most important Italian publishers, and Ugo Sissa, a Mantuan architect who worked in Iraq from where he brought back important Mesopotamian artworks)
  • The Palazzo Ducale, famous residence of the Gonzaga family, made up by a number of buildings, courtyards and gardens gathered around the Palazzo del Capitano, the Magna Domus, and the Castle of St. George.
  • The Basilica of Sant'Andrea
  • The Duomo
  • The Rotonda di San Lorenzo
  • The Bibiena Theater
  • The church of San Sebastiano
  • The Palazzo Vescovile ("Bishops Palace")
  • The Palazzo degli Uberti
  • The Torre della Gabbia ("Cage Tower")
  • The Palazzo del Podestà that hosts the museum of Tazio Nuvolari
  • The Palazzo della Ragione with the Torre dell'Orologio ("Clock Tower")
  • The Palazzo Castiglioni Bonacolsi
  • The Palazzo Valenti Gonzaga, an example of architecture and decorations of Baroque period, decorated with frescoes attributed to Flemish painter Frans Geffels. The facade of the palace was designed by Nicolò Sebregondi.

Piazza Sordello.


Mantua lies across the Milan-Codogno-Cremona-Mantova. By car, it can be reached through the A4 (Milan-Venice) Highway to Verona, and from there Highway A22 (Brennero-Modena). Otherwise, through the State road 415 (Milan-Cremona) to Cremona, and from there State road 10 (Cremona-Mantova).

The closest airport is Verona-Villafranca.


  • An annual survey of Legambiente (an ecologist movement of Italy) in 2005 declared Mantua the most liveable city of the country. The study was based on levels of pollution, quality of life, traffic of cars, and public transportation, among other criteria. [1]
  • The body of Saint Longinus, twice recovered and lost, was asserted to have been found once more at Mantua in 1304, together with the Holy Sponge stained with Christ's blood.
  • In William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo spends his period of exile—his punishment for killing Tybalt—in Mantua. Also, in Shakespeare's play Taming of the Shrew, the schoolmaster who pretends to be Lucentio's father, Vincentio, is from this city.
  • Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto (based on Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse) is set in Mantua. Austro-Hungarian authorities in Venice forced him to move the action from France to Mantua.
  • Since 1997 Mantua has hosted the Festivaletteratura, one of the most renowned literary events in Europe.
  • In 2007 the remains of two people were discovered during the construction of a factory. The remains are thought to be between 5,000 and 6,000 years old. It is speculated that the remains are of two young lovers because the two skeletons appear to be embracing. [2]


As with many European cities, Mantua has been the inspiration for the names of many other settlements, including:


Mantua, a village in West Hants, Nova Scotia


Mantua, Ohio, Mantua, Utah, Mantua, New Jersey, Mantua, Virginia, the Mantua district of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the village of Mantua in Baltimore County, Maryland, the hamlet of Mantua (sometimed spelled Manatua) in Greene County, Alabama, and a location in Monroe County, Iowa.

Twin cities

Famous citizens

See also

Tazio Nuvolari "The flying Mantuan" World famous racing Driver. Born in Mantova.There is a museum dedicated to his exploits.


  1. ^ "Mantua and the Gonzaga domains". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2006-09-18. 
  2. ^ "Parco del Mincio". Comune di Mantova. Retrieved 2006-09-18. 
  3. ^ Fagles, Robert: The Aeneid (2006), 10.242, Penguin Group, ISBN 0-670-03803-2
  4. ^ Conte, Gian Biagio. Trans. Joseph B. Solodow Latin Literature: A History. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
  5. ^ Henry S. Lucas, The Renaissance and the Reformation (Harper & Bros. Publishers: New York, 1960) pp. 42-43.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MANTUA .(Ital. Mantova), a fortified city of Lombardy, Italy, the capital of the province of Mantua, the see of a bishop, and the centre of a military district, 25 m. S.S.W. of Verona and loo m. E.S.E. of Milan by rail. Pop. (1906), 31,783. It is situated 88 ft. above the level of the Adriatic on an almost insular site in the midst of the swampy lagoons of the Mincio. As the belt of marshy ground along the south side can be laid under water at pleasure, the site of the city proper, exclusive of the considerable suburbs of Borgo di Fortezza to the north and Borgo di San Giorgio to the east, may still be said to consist, as it formerly did more distinctly, of two islands separated by a narrow channel and united by a number of bridges. On the west side lies Lago Superiore, on the east side Lago Inferiore - the boundary between the two being marked by the Argine del Mulino, a long mole stretching northward from the northwest angle of the city to the citadel.

On the highest ground in the city rises the cathedral, the interior of which was built after his death according to the plans of Giulio Romano; it has double aisles, a fine fretted ceiling, a dome-covered transept, a bad baroque façade, and a large unfinished Romanesque tower. Much more important architecturally is the church of St Andrea, built towards the close of the 15th century, after plans by Leon Battista Alberti, and consisting of a single, barrel-vaulted nave 350 ft. long by 62 ft. wide. It has a noble facade with a deeply recessed portico, and a brick campanile of 1414. The interior is decorated with 18th-century frescoes, to which period the dome also belongs. Mantegna is buried in one of the side chapels. S. Sebastiano is another work of Alberti's. The old ducal palace - one of the largest buildings of its kind in Europe - was begun in 1302 for Guido Bonaccolsi, and probably completed in 1328 for Ludovico Gonzaga; but many of the accessory apartments are of much later date, and the internal decorations are for the most part the work of Giulio Romano and his pupils. There are also some fine rooms of the early 19th century. Close by are the Piazza dell' Erbe and the Piazza Sordello, with Gothic palaces. The Castello di Corte here, the old castle of the Gonzagas (1395-1406), erected by Bartolino da Novara, the architect of the castle of Ferrara, now contains the archives, and has some fine frescoes by Mantegna with scenes from the life of Ludovico Gonzaga. Outside of the city, to the south of Porta Pusterla, stands the Palazzo del Te, Giulio's architectural. masterpiece, erected for Frederick Gonzaga in .1523-1535; of the numerous fresco-covered chambers which it contains, perhaps the most celebrated is the Sala dei Giganti, where, by a combination of mechanical with artistic devices, the rout of the Titans still contending with artillery of uptorn rocks against the pursuit and thunderbolts of Jove appears to rush downwards on the spectator. The architecture of Giulio's own house in the town is also good.

Mantua has an academy of arts and sciences (Accademict Vergiliana), occupying a fine building erected by Piermarini, a public library founded in 1780 by Maria Theresa, a museum of antiquities dating from 1779, many of which have been brought from Sabbioneta, a small residence town of the Gonzagas. in the late 16th century, a mineralogical museum, a good botanical garden, and an observatory. There are ironworks, tanneries, breweries, oil-mills and flour-mills in the town, which also has printing, furriery, doll-making and playing-card industries. As a fortress Mantua was long one of the most formidable in Europe, a force of thirty to forty thousand men finding accommodation within its walls; but it had two serious. defects - the marshy climate told heavily on the health of the garrison, and effective sorties were almost impossible. It lies on the main line of railway between Verona and Modena; and is also connected by rail with Cremona and with Monselice, on the line from Padua to Bologna, and by steam tramway with Brescia and other places.

S. Maria delle Grazie, standing some 5 m. outside the town, was consecrated in 1399 as an act of thanksgiving for the cessation of the plague, and has a curious collection of ex voto pictures (wax figures), and also the tombs of the Gonzaga family.

Mantua had still a strong Etruscan element in its population during the Roman period. It became a Roman municipium, with the rest of Gallia Transpadana; but'lvIartial calls it little Mantua, and had it not been for Virgil's interest in his native place, and in the expulsion of a number of the Mantuans (and among them the poet himself) from their lands in favour of Octavian's soldiers, we should probably have heard almost nothing of its existence. In 568 the Lombards found Mantua a walled town of some strength; recovered from their grasp in 590 by the exarch of Ravenna, it was again captured by Agilulf in 601. The 9th century was the period of episcopal supremacy, and in the 11th the city formed part of the vast possessions of Bonifacio, marquis of Canossa. From him it passed to Geoffrey, duke of Lorraine, and afterwards to the countess Matilda, whose support of the pope led to the conquest of Mantua by the emperor Henry IV. in 1090. Reduced to obedience by Matilda in 1113, the city obtained its liberty on her death, and instituted a communal government of its. own, salva imperiali justitia. It afterwards joined the Lombard League; and the unsuccessful attack made by Frederick II. in 1236 brought it a confirmation of its privileges. But after a period of internal discord Ludovico Gonzaga attained to power (1328), and was recognized as imperial vicar (1329); and from that time till the death of Ferdinando Carbo in 1708 the Gonzagas were masters of Mantua (see Gonzaga). Under Gian Francesco II., the first marquis, Ludovico III., Gian Francesco III. (whose wife was Isabella d'Este), and Federico II., the first duke of Mantua, the city rose rapidly into importance as a seat of industry and culture. It was stormed and sacked by the Austrians in 1630, and never quite recovered. Claimed in 1708 as a fief of the empire by Joseph I., it was governed for the greater part of the century by the Austrians. In June 1796 it was besieged by Napoleon; but in spite of terrific bombardments it held out till February 1797. A three days' bombardment in 1799 again placed Mantua in the hands of the Austrians; and, though restored to the French by the peace of Luneville (1801), it became Austrian once more from 1814 till 1866. Between 1849 and 1859, when the whole of Lombardy except Mantua was, by the peace of Villafranca, ceded to Italy, the city was the scene of violent political persecution.

See Gaet. Susani, Nuovo prospetto delle pitture, &c., di Mantova (Mantua, 1830); Carlo d'Arco, Delle arti e degli artefici di Mantova (Mantua, 1857); and Storia di Mantova (Mantua, 1874).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also mantua




Latin Mantua, from Etruscan *𐌌𐌀𐌍𐌈𐌅𐌀 (manθva) — compare 𐌌𐌀𐌍𐌈𐌅𐌀𐌕𐌄 (manθvate), Mantuan, after Mantus, a Latin name for the god of the underworld.

Proper noun


  1. Province of Lombardy, Italy.
  2. City and capital of Mantua.
    —He and I / Will watch thy waking, and that very night / Shall Romeo bear thee hence to Mantua.Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare



Proper noun


  1. Mantua (city)

Simple English

Mantova (or Mantua) is a city in northern Italy. Mantova is in the Lombardy Region. It has a population of 48,103 people.


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