Mantua / Mantova, Italy

Whilst my desire on our return to Lake Garda was to revisit Verona, last seen under torrential rain, reading about Mantua as the no 1 site to see in Italy and only 40 miles south of us was too much to revisit. So we planned a route which took us through rural countryside to Mantua and returning via Verona.

Rather disconcerted I questioned why Amr was heading for Mantova when we were supposed to be going to Mantua…. them it clicked, English spelling of Italian place names, how stupid, why don’t we just stick with the country’s own name for a place instead of anglicising it!

In what seemed no time at all we arrived at our destination, and were confused slightly as to where we wanted to be as the city centre seemed to be a bit spread out. So we opted for the Palazzo de Te at the south end of the city.

Not sure what to expect, and fearing the place was closed it was so deserted as we walked to the entrance, we were blown away with the place. The artwork on the walls and ceilings was so intricate,

so different in each room and mind blowing in some.

There were no furnishings but there didn’t need to be any, they would have been a distraction from the main art. we spent most of the time looking upwards at the incredible paintings,

some weirdly giving you the impression you were looking at people standing on a glass ceiling.

After having our fill we wandered into a cafe in the gardens to reflect on what we had seen. Whilst we sat we saw vintage cars driving up past the Palazzo and gathering together in the grounds. So we had another cup of coffee to watch what was happening. Its a strange thing, but just about every trip we take we see a vintage car rally, and this was no exception. After finishing our second coffee we wandered over to take a look,

some incredible old cars in absolutely pristine condition,

one opened the engine cover, too old to say the bonnet! And it was cleaner than a professional kitchen! All shiny and bright.

Pondering the distance into the centre of the city we decided to walk, and were pleased we did, it was a pleasant walk and not too far. By the time we reached the ‘centre’ the building were ornate.

The main area spread across four main squares, difficult to quite know where we were but just wandering through the covered porticos,

across the cobbled squares – hell on the feet – and through the odd garden displaying artwork and sculptures we seem to have seen most of the Duomos, churches and fine museum buildings the city has to offer.

In need of a sit down we found a gelataria and as luck would have it they had our favourite liquorice ice cream and lemon sorbet, an absolute delightful combination of flavours and textures, and sitting at a table in the corner of the square watching the towering buildings was just the antidote requires to recharge the batteries for the walk back to the car.

By this time we both looked at each other, both thinking the same thing… have we got the energy to go to Verona? The truthful answer was no, we were both hot and tired and the thought of walking round Verona now was too much for us realistically!

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