Mantua is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, was selected among many as the Italian capital of culture in 2016 , and finally became part of the European Region of Gastronomy thanks to the quality of typical culinary products (together with Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona). It is therefore not surprising that Mantua is increasingly considered a city to be discovered in its variety of proposals: tourists go there not only for the history, but also for the exquisite traditional dishes, landscapes and panoramic views, architecture and the art that can be found here in all its forms. And just speaking of art, one cannot fail to mention the Doge’s Palace, one of the best known and most visited monuments in the city: we present it to you in this article, telling you its history, how to get there and other practical information.
Timetables and prices
- Timetables: the Doge’s Palace can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:15 am to 7:15 pm.
- Best time to avoid queues : shortly after opening or in the late afternoon
- Ticket cost: the full fare ticket costs € 13.00. In this case, a visit to the Corte Vecchia, the Castle of San Giorgio and the Camera degli Sposi is included. For anyone wishing to visit the Corte Vecchia exclusively, the cost of the entrance ticket is € 6.50.
- Reductions : The reduced ticket for a visit to the Corte Vecchia, the Castle of San Giorgio and the Camera degli Sposi is € 7.50. The price for the exclusive visit to the Corte Vecchia is € 3.25. the reductions are foreseen for young people of the European Union from 18 to 25 years old.
- Free admission: It is possible to have free access to the Doge’s Palace every first Sunday of the month . In addition, minors, journalists with ID cards, teachers, tour leaders and employees of the Ministry for cultural activities and heritage can always access free of charge.
Online tickets and guided tours
What to see and how to visit Palazzo Ducale
The Ducal Palace of Mantua, also known by many as the Royal Palace , represents a real historical symbol for the Mantuan people (linked to the events of the Gonzaga noble family ). The palace complex is so vast that the entire surface occupies more than 35,000 square meters : for this reason, we list what in our opinion are the main things to see, although nothing prevents you from extending your visit to the areas that we will not name (but which, we would like to say, are all worthwhile!).
- Corte Vecchia : the Corte Vecchia is the main nucleus of the Palazzo, the oldest heart of the entire structure. Residence of the Gonzaga family since 1328, the Court is made up of different rooms, among the best known are the corridor of the Captain, the Guastalla apartment and the Hall of the Popes. However, it is the Sala dei Principi (or the Pisanello ) that attracts the attention of visitors the most, due to a very particular fresco: the one that illustrates the Lancelot , a Breton novel in which the deeds of the knights of the Round Table are told.
- Castle : from piazza Castello, you enter the manor dating back to the fourteenth century. Here, crossing the spiral staircase called Scala dei Cavalli, you first arrive at the Sala degli Affreschi (once a precious library of the Gonzaga family) and then to the famous Camera degli Sposi (or Camera Picta ). Frescoed by Andrea Mantegna between 1465 and 1474, this room is perhaps the most visited of the whole complex, as well as one of the most important sites in our country from an artistic point of view. Here, give yourself some time to let yourself be fascinated by the painter’s skill: pay particular attention to how the use of colors and shapes has allowed Mantegna to create the illusion of a much larger space than it actually is.
- Corte Nuova : the Corte Nuova, as the name suggests, is made up of the most recent buildings. From the Castle, through the Scalone di Enea, one arrives at the Corte Nuova area and, in particular, at the Sala di Manto . Once the party hall of Duke Guglielmo, this immense hall allows you to reach the Sala di Troia , on whose walls the war deeds of the Greek and Trojan heroes are depicted.
- Gallery : finally, in the Gallery of the Palazzo Ducale since 2016 (the year in which Mantua became the Italian capital of culture ) exhibitions of contemporary art are often held, within the wonderful setting offered by the Palazzo.
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot : finding the Doge’s Palace is not at all difficult given its grandeur and given its position in the historic city center: once you enter the city and pass the Ponte San Giorgio, follow the signs for Piazza Sordello, on which you will find the entrance to the Palazzo, in the loggia of the Palazzo del Capitano. If you are in doubt, make sure you see the Mantua Cathedral right in front of the Palazzo . – Get directions
- By bus : from the Mantua train station (perfectly connected with Verona, Modena and Milan), located in Piazza Don Leoni 14, there are buses (number 4) that lead directly to the historic center, a short distance from the square on which is overlooked by the Doge’s Palace.
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early : the ideal would be to reach the entrance by 9:00 am;
- Buy the Mantova Sabbioneta card : if you are interested in visiting other museums or attractions during your stay in the city, you can buy the Mantova Sabbioneta card with which you can save on admissions to museums, monuments and public transport, as well as having significant discounts in restaurants , affiliated shops and clubs. The card has a cost of € 20.00 with a validity of 72 hours and can be purchased at the Tourist Offices of Mantua, or directly at the ticket offices of the following museums and monuments: Palazzo Ducale Museum Complex, Palazzo Te Museum, Palazzo della Ragione and Bibiena scientific theater.
- Watch out for Mondays : we remind you that the Doge’s Palace is closed every Monday. Be careful when planning your itinerary for the city!
- Minimum time : we advise you to consider a minimum of 3 hours for the visit. (Even more, given the charm that this place can emanate).
- Maximum respect : we know that there is no need to emphasize it, but you are in a place of unique beauty. For this reason, be careful how you move around the environment and always act with the utmost respect.
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
The Ducal Palace of Mantua is developed today between the Piazza del Sordello (formerly known as Piazza San Pietro ) and the shore of the lower lake. Known for being the home of the Gonzagas in the Renaissance period, not everyone knows that the Palace passed under the hands of another important family, when the last Italian duke Ferdinando Carlo was forced into exile: from 1707 onwards, in fact, the Palazzo passed under Austrian control, since the Habsburgs claiming dominion over the Mantuan district became its governors.
Only after the annexation of Mantua to the Kingdom of Italy (1861), the city was freed from foreign domination and the Ducal Palace could undergo several restoration interventions.
Today the Palace houses priceless masterpieces, including the Multiplication of the loaves and fishes by D. Fetti and the Gonzaga family in adoration of the Trinity by Rubens. Most of the works present, however, are not to be counted (as many mistakenly believe before the visit) among those of the artistic heritage of the Gonzagas, since almost all Gonzaga’s masterpieces were lost during the sack of Mantua in 1630 . This is why, for example, the furniture and furnishings on display can be traced back to the early nineteenth century.