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Castle & palace tours

Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended Mantua Castle & palace tours

Parma: Traditional Cheese Factory Visit with Tasting

1. Parma: Traditional Cheese Factory Visit with Tasting

Learn the origins of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese throughout a visit to a cheese factory in Parma. Hear how this cheese, protected by the EU, is still produced following traditional methods. Exclusively made in the Zona Tipica of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Bologna and Mantova, Parmesan cheese dates back over 9 centuries. Watch the cheese makers pull the product from the milk vats, and get a behind-the-scenes look at the process of cooking and separating the whey. You'll then visit the shaping and salting rooms, before going to the stagionatura where the cheese is aged. Savor the sight and smell of thousands of wheels of cheese, and learn about the strict tests performed by the Consorzio, such as hammering the cheeses before the fire-branding ritual. Finally, taste the delicious cheese accompanied by some honey and local wine.

Parma: Cheese, Ham, & Balsamic Vinegar Tour with Tastings

2. Parma: Cheese, Ham, & Balsamic Vinegar Tour with Tastings

On a day-long tour, you’ll Learn the origins of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese throughout a visit to a cheese factory in Parma. Hear how this cheese, protected by the EU, is still produced following traditional methods. Exclusively made in the Zona Tipica of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and parts of Bologna and Mantova, Parmesan cheese dates back over 9 centuries. After, head to the picturesque hills of Langhirano, which are home to Prosciutto di Parma Ham. The tour begins with a brief history of the production, followed by a visit to the "cold stage," where fresh meats are processed. Learn how the best meat is chosen and see the salting machinery and refrigeration/resting cells. Take a look in the seasoning chambers and savor the traditional ham aromas in the air. Learn about the "spillatura" and how only the best hams pass the test and are branded as the famed "Crown of Parma." Finally, enjoy a degustation of Parma ham accompanied by a glass local wine. Then We will discover the secrets of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, one of the hidden and still little-known jewels of the Modena area. We will visit a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar producer and the visit will be followed by tasting of 12 years old, 25 years old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar and other balsamic condiments.

Mantova City Center and Ducal Palace: 3-Hour Guided Tour

3. Mantova City Center and Ducal Palace: 3-Hour Guided Tour

Surrounded by 3 small lakes, Mantova rises almost magically from the waters. The relationship between Mantua and water is a very close one: the Mincio River, the lakes and the medieval canal known as Rio are all entwined in Mantovan traditions. On a 3-hour walking tour in the city center you’ll discover how water and earth are unexpectedly interwoven. See stunning buildings, squares and churches. Learn about the importance of the Gongaza family in fine art and how they transformed their home into what is today the largest museum in Italy. The Ducal Palace was built between the 14th and the 17th centuries as the family’s royal residence in the capital of their duchy. The buildings are connected by corridors and galleries and feature inner courts and gardens. The complex includes about a thousand rooms and occupies an area of 34,000 square meters. Although most famous for Mantegna's frescos in the Camera degli Sposi (Wedding Room), there are many other very significant architectural and painted elements. Visit Rigoletto's House, see the exterior of the Saint George Castle and visit Piazza Castello, Piazza Santa Barbara and Piazza lega Lombarda. At Piazza Sordello you’ll have views of the Ducal Palace façade, the Cathedral, Vicolo Bonacolsi, Piazza Broletto with the medieval Palazzo del Podesta and Palazzo del Massaro and Arengario. Piazza delle Erbe is surrounded by the Palazzo della Ragione, the Clock Tower and the Saint Lorenzo Church. See the façade of the Merchant's House, Piazza Mantegna with the Basilica of Sant'Andrea built by Leon Battista Alberti and Piazza Leon Battista Alberti with the former cloister of the Sant'Andrea Monastery. No entrance tickets are needed on this city center tour, unless you’d like to visit the beautiful Bibiena Theatre where Mozart played when he was 13 years old (entrance €2). Churches close at noon and re-open at 15.00. During services entrance to visit churches is not permitted. For the Ducal Palace the entrance fee is €13. The Castle and Ducal Palace limit entrance to groups not larger than 25 people. For larger groups additional guides are needed and bookings are required in advance. On the first Sunday of every month, entrance to the Ducal Palace is free of charge, but cannot be booked in advance. As only 1,500 people per day can enter the room painted by Mantegna, on these special Sundays it may be impossible to enter that particular room.

Mantua: Self-Guided Audio Tour to the City of Lakes

4. Mantua: Self-Guided Audio Tour to the City of Lakes

Italy is full of beautiful cities but exploring Mantua, the City of Lakes in the heart of the Po Valley isn’t an experience to be missed. On this walking tour, I’ll guide you through the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the great poet Virgil was born. I’ll show you its labyrinth of charming streets that open onto gorgeous piazzas, and share the highlights of its history and cuisine. Starting in front of Castle of San Giorgio (Castello di San Giorgio), I’ll tell you about the three lakes surrounding the city which are said to originate from prophetess Manto’s tears – and how they were actually built by marvelous engineers over 800 years ago. At Piazza delle Erbe (Market’s Square), I’ll show you traces of the powerful medieval Canossa family, including the oldest church in the city, Rotonda di San Lorenzo, which they commissioned. I’ll also tell you why this spot was chosen for the church and how it’s connected to the Holy Blood of Jesus Christ. Strolling past the many beautiful gothic-style medieval buildings, you’ll hear stories about the city’s various rulers including the Bonacolsi and Gonzaga families, who were part of the oldest dynasties in Europe. You’ll see Campanile di San Domenico, best known as the city’s centre for the Inquisition, and some impressive palatial homes including Palazzo del Capitano, Palazzo della Ragione, and the Ducal Palace. Finally, I’ll guide you through the former Jewish Ghetto, where I’ll show you La Casa del Rabbino which once housed the community’s rabbis. Along the way, you’ll have a chance to: • Hear about Matilda Canossa, who ruled over all of Tuscany and commissioned the Rotonda di San Lorenzo • See Rigoletto’s House, the building hand-picked in 1851 to feature in Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto • Find out where you can see Camera degli Sposi, the breathtaking fresco by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna • Gaze upon the Basilica di Sant Andrea, Cattedrale di San Pietro, and the Church of Santa Barbara • Tuck into local specialties like Risotto alla Mantovana, pumpkin toretelli, pumpkin gnocchi, and Mantua Salame • Learn about Mantua’s Jewish community, which was once large enough to have six synagogues Join me and see Mantua through the ages of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance, and enjoy a touch of excellent Italian cuisine.

Lake Garda: Ebike Rental

5. Lake Garda: Ebike Rental

The route starts from our electric bike rental point near Peschiera del Garda and allows you to reach Borghetto, a small medieval village. Borghetto owes its charm to the harmonious relationship between history and nature which they have preserved almost intact over the centuries and today represents an urban "unique" to visit at least once in a lifetime. The river is the absolute protagonist of this journey: it starts from Lake Garda in Peschiera and arrives in Mantua where it forms the three lakes that surround the city. About 15 km long from north to south, it is a very easy track, well signposted and suitable for everyone, with a modest difference in height, completely paved and isolated from car traffic.

Mantua: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour

6. Mantua: 2-Hour Guided Walking Tour

Discover the birthplace of Virgil, the city where Shakespeare’s Romeo took refuge, and the setting for Verdi’s dramatic opera, “Rigoletto” on a 2-hour guided walk of Mantua. Surrounded by 3 small lakes, Mantua rises magically from the waters of the River Mincio, and the lakes and medieval canal of the "Rio." Learn how water and earth are interwoven to form the character of the town in public squares and at churches that only locals know. Start at the Casa di Rigoletto, chosen by the wealthy Gonzaga family as the residence of the legendary fool in Verdi’s opera. Continue to the Castle of St. George (San Giorgio) and the ducal palace of the Palazzo Ducale di Mantova. Marvel at public spaces of outstanding interest, such as Piazza Castello, Piazza Santa Barbara, and Piazza Lega Lombarda. Admire the façade of the ducal palace on Piazza Sordello. Then, go to Mantua Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Peter. Marvel at the facing Palazzo Bonacolsi, before going to Piazza Broletto to see the medieval palaces of the Palazzo del Podesta, Palazzo del Massaro, and Arengario. Next, visit Piazza dell Erbe to look at the Astronomical Clock Tower and the palaces of the Palazzo Cervetta and Palazzo della Ragione. See the imposing church of the Rotonda di San Lorenzo (Mantua’s oldest religious building). Admire the massive dome and Renaissance exterior of the Basilica of Sant'Andrea, and continue to Piazza Leon Battista Alberti to see the former cloister of Sant'Andrea Monastery. On request, you can also visit the beautiful Bibiena Theater where Mozart played when he was only 13 years old, and with an extraordinary auditorium designed in the late Baroque or early Rococo style by Antonio Galli Bibiena.

Mantova: Private Walking Tour

7. Mantova: Private Walking Tour

After gathering in front of the entrance of the Captain's Palace in Piazza Sordello, your private Mantua sightseeing tour will kick off. This little-known city is a breathtaking jewel that boasts magnificent buildings. It is also home to splendid squares and charming alleys lined with arcades and graceful houses. Mantua is small but spectacular and is surrounded by a beautiful natural environment where art, nature, cultural heritage, excellent food, and a good overall lifestyle make life sweeter. You will see St. George's Castle, built by Francesco Gonzaga between 1395 and 1406, which became one of the most important examples of the Italian Renaissance when Andrea Mantegna painted the famous Camera degli Sposi. Your guide will then take you to visit Piazza Sordello, the main and most ancient nucleus of Mantua. This is where the town was born, and this square still represents the most important place in town, with its Duomo di Mantiva cathedral, Palazzo Ducale, and the other palaces which date back to the Middle Ages. Among the other attractions, you will also see Piazza delle Erbe, which has been the main market in town since the Middle Ages.

Mantua: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

8. Mantua: Dining Experience at a Local's Home

Immerse yourself in a private dining experience at a local's home, enjoying an exclusive show cooking and tasting authentic recipes treasured in family cookbooks passed down by real Italian "Mammas". This experience will allow you to feel the warmth of Italian hospitality as you connect with local people. You will enjoy a 4-course menu including a starter, pasta, a main course with a side dish, and dessert, with drinks included (water, selection of red and white wines from regional cellars and coffee).

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What people are saying about Mantua

The guide, Manuela Roversi, is very good, she enchanted us with the history of Mantua and the Gonzaga family. A visit not to be missed!