Mantua is located between three different lakes, and the castle of San Giorgio was built just as an outpost to defend the passage between the Middle and Lower lakes. Built in the 14th century by order of Francesco I di Gonzaga, on the rubble of a church dedicated to Mary, the fortress is considered one of the most important monuments in Mantua not to be missed .
Here is some useful information on how to organize the visit, timetables and ticket costs.
Timetables and prices
- Timetables: Castle of San Giorgio with the Camera degli Sposi and the Corte Nuova from 8:15 to 19:15, Corte Vecchia from 13:45. Every morning at 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am and 12:30 pm, accompanied visits will start at the Isabella d’Este Apartment and, depending on availability, also at the Empress’ Apartment, the Sala dello Specchio, the Gallery. dei Fauni and the Hanging Garden in Corte Vecchia
- Best time to avoid queues : wake up early and show up at the opening
- Ticket cost: Castle of San Giorgio + Corte Vecchia + Freddi Collection € 12.00, Corte Vecchia € 6.50
- Reductions : € 6.50 from 18 to 25 for the complete visit of the museum sections of Corte Vecchia with the Apartment of Isabella d’Este and of the Castle of San Giorgio with the Camera degli Sposi and the exhibition of the Freddi collections, € 3, 25 from 18 to 25 years for a visit to the Corte Vecchia and the Isabella d’Este Apartment
- Free admission: free admission for all on the first Sunday of each month. Children under 18, students, teachers, researchers. For more information contact the
Online tickets and guided tours
What to see and how to visit the Castle of San Giorgio
The construction of the San Giorgio Castle began in 1395 and ended in 1406. The original square plan, equipped with four corner towers and surrounded by a moat with three doors, was modified in 1459 by Luce Fancelli, a pupil of Brunelleschi, who transformed from fortress to residence. Here resided Isabella d’Este , wife of Francesco II Gonzaga, and the most important noblewoman of the time.
From Palazzo Ducale you have direct access to the Castle, through the staircase of Aeneas . Among the rooms to visit absolutely we have: that of the Suns , located on the ground floor, decorated with frescoes of the fifteenth century ; the Hall of Coats of Arms and that of the Frescoes ;the hall of the Sigle , the apartment of Isabella d’Este and the room of the Grotto , always part of the environment.
Inside one of the towers of the castle is the Camera degli Sposi , considered one of the greatest examples of the Italian Renaissance . Mantegna frescoed it between 1465 and 1474, given that he took pains to engrave on the wall, recreating a game of illusions unique for the time.
On the main floor of the north-east tower, on the other hand, we have the Picta Room , in which it is possible to stop for a maximum of 10 minutes, in order to avoid damaging the dry-painted frescoes by Mantegna.
The New Court
The Corte Nuova is a nucleus of buildings built from the 16th century. From the Castle it is accessed through the Great Apartment of Castello. The Corte Nuova apartment was inhabited by Duke Federico II , and includes: the Sala dei Cavalli, the Sala delle Teste and the Sala di Troia, the Camera dei Cesari and the hanging garden, called dei Cani .
The visit can be carried out in two different ways. Crossing the Galleria dei Marmi or dei Mesi, you go through the long Gallery of the Exhibition which then arrives in the Julian apartment known as the Estivale or della Rustica. Alternatively, you can enter the Metamorphosis Apartment from which you can access the Giardino dei Semplici , particularly fascinating during the summer .
The Old Court
As can be easily guessed from the name, this is the oldest nucleus of the palace , inhabited by the Gonzagas until 1328, when they later moved to the Castle. The visit includes: the Captain’s corridor, the apartment known as Guastalla, the Sala dei Principi or del Pisanello, the Sala dei Papi, the two rooms of the Alcova, the Galleria Nuova which leads to the Domus Nova . These environments in turn include: the Hall of Archers, the Gallery of Mirrors, the Ducal Apartment, the Corridor of the Moors.
From here you can access the Guglielmo Apartment, which is divided into the Sala dello Zodiaco, from the Refectory or Sala dei Fiumi, overlooking the Hanging Garden, and from the Tapestry Apartment, which from the, depicting scenes from the Acts of the Apostles. Going down the staircase, and crossing the courtyard of Santa Croce, you reach the Apartment of Isabella d’Este.
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot : it takes about 13 minutes from the center, for a kilometer of road. The monument is surrounded by other historical buildings of great interest so, if the weather permits, it is advisable to prefer a walk rather than public transport – Get directions
- By bus : from the station, line 4 and circular n1, Piazza Concordia stop
- By train : 45 minutes from Verona and 55 from Modena. The station is 9 minutes on foot from the historic center, about 900 meters, and is still connected by bus line 4 and circular no 1 (descent to p. Concordia)
- By car : via the A22 Modena-Brennero motorway, the exits are Mantova Nord and Sud, which are respectively 4 and 11.5 kilometers from the center. If, on the other hand, you are coming from the Autostrada del Sole, the exit is Parma Est, 60 km from the center. On the lakefront viale Mincio, piazza Virgiliana, Anconetta, Campo Canoa, there are several free parking areas, while in via S.Giorgio Lungolago Gonzaga, Via Cairoli, paid parking areas
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early : the ideal would be to reach the entrance for opening hours, especially in view of free admission
- Beware of restrictions : it is forbidden to drink and consume food, smoke, bring pets of any size, except guide dogs for the blind. Backpacks, umbrellas, bulky bags, protruding backpacks and bulky items must be deposited in the cloakroom. Luggage storage is available free of charge inside the museum. The NOT guarded cloakroom is located at the entrance to the Corte Vecchia, while at the entrance to the Castle there will only be umbrella stands and cages for unsupervised storage.
- Minimum time : we advise you to consider a minimum of half a day, in order to enjoy the visit to the fullest
- Guided tours : an audio guide or a group guided tour is recommended
- Recommended clothing : during the winter the Castle of San Giorgio and the Apartment of Isabella in Corte Vecchia are air conditioned. The remaining visiting rooms have no heating systems. It is therefore advisable to bring jackets and coats with you, and not to deposit them in the wardrobe
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
For the entire period in which the gonzagas stayed in the Castle, this was also used as a prison while, in 1825, it was transformed into a maximum security prison. To the environments mentioned above, the undergrounds, the prisons of the Martyrs of Belfiore and the visit to the walkways of the Towers must therefore also be added. Such and so many uses reserved for the Castle in the past, mean that today’s visitor must necessarily have an audio guide , or take a guided tour to be sure to see and know all that the Castle has to offer.