Friday, 19 May 2017
Transfer to Mantua
10.00 am -12.30 pm
History and art tour of the city centre of Mantua, with particular regard for the Basilica di Sant’Andrea
The tour will touch the UNESCO world heritage city’s two oldest districts: the civitas vetus, comprised between the Cathedral and lake Inferiore, and civitas nova, with the centres of communal-age power, upon which the Gonzaga left their monumental mark.
Over the century the old town became the secluded and exclusive centre of the Signoria, with the original buildings giving on to the austere and vast Piazza Sordello (originally Piazza San Pietro) and the wing of Palazzo Ducale stretching all the way to the lake.
Through the Volto di San Pietro the old town connects with the communal-age part, which stands out for its squares and porticoed mercantile streets. This is where old communal buildings are still found: Palazzo Della Ragione, Palazzo del Podestà, the Arengario. Here in the V century was the working ground of Marquis Ludovico’s architects, whose most impressive outcomes include the Torre dell’Orologio and Basilica di Sant’Andrea, designed by Leon Battista Alberti to house the relic of Preziosissimo Sangue di Cristo, of which the people of Mantua consider itself as the true guardian.
Alberti’s construction site, a masterpiece and example of Renaissance architecture, remained unfinished. In the following centuries Antonio Maria Viani added a crypt to house the holy relic and in the XVIII century Filippo Juvara designed the grand dome that currently towers over the city.
The morning tour will end with a visit of Museo Diocesano “Francesco Gonzaga”, a beautiful XV century building remodelled in neoclassical time featuring a unique collection including the set of Italian XV century armours, painted enamels, the Paris tapestries of Henri Lerambert – Henry IV’s court painter – and Barbara of Brandenburg’s (1442 – 1465) extraordinary missal illuminated by Belbello da Pavia and Girolamo da Cremona
Buffet lunch at the cloister of Museo Diocesano
Tour of Palazzo d’Arco
The house of the Counts of D’Arco, as appears in its current neoclassical form, was built after 1784 by commission from Gherardo D’Arco. The project was tasked to neoclassical architects Antonio Colonna and Paolo Pozzo. In the 1870s Countess Giovanna, the last heir of the noble house, bequeathed the building to the City of Mantua.
The palace looks as though it was still inhabited. The painting gallery has a remarkable collection, with works of art from the XV to the XVIII century, from Niccolo’ da Verona to Rubens, Van Dick, Luini, Sodoma, Bazzani, and Magnasco. The XIX century kitchen with its copper ware collection is quite interesting. Besides the semi-circular portion of the parade ground, the palace also features a romantic garden, the XVI century buildings that house Antonio d’Arco’s natural science collection and the Giovanni Maria Falconetto’s early XVI century grand fresco cycle at Sala dello Zodiaco.
Tour of Teatrino Scientifico dell’Accademia
Mantua, Palazzo Ducale, sightseeing tour for Delegates and Companions
The oldest part of Palazzo Ducale is known as Corte Vecchia. First it was occupied by the Bonacolsi and then, after dal 1328, by the Gonzaga family, which kept it as its residence until 1459, when Marquis Ludovico Gonzaga moved to Castello di San Giorgio. Under Ludovico’s rule the Castle became the emblem of Renaissance culture: the most significant example is the unparalleled Camera Picta or degli Sposi, where Andrea Mantegna worked between 1465 and 1474. The most outstanding exhibits at Corte Vecchia include Sala del Pisanello, with the Lancelot fresco, a Breton romance about the antics of the Knights of the Round Table, Sale degli Arazzi, with new, very precious Flemish tapestries woven on Raffaello Sanzio’s paper models for the Sistine Chapel and produced with a personalised hem for Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, Isabella d’Este Gonzaga’s widow quarters and the famous studio, the secret garden, and the Grotta.
The block of buildings built on the side of lake Inferiore is called Corte Nuova. The most outstanding examples include buildings by Giulio Romano and Giovanni Battista Bertani such as the Appartamento di Troia, the charming Palazzina della Rustica, the lush Galleria della Mostra, and the grand Sala di Manto, Duke Guglielmo’s Salle des Fêtes. Also for Guglielmo, a Duke and a musician, in 1563 Giovanni Battista Bertani started constructing the building’s visual fulcrum: the palatine church of Santa Barbara and its incredible acoustics.
At the end of the tour, farewell cocktail at ‘Cortile d’Onore’
Return transfer to the hotels