Province of Mantua

Lombardy, Italy

Province of Mantua
408 336

About Province of Mantua

Mantua (/ ˈmæntjuə /; Italian: Mantua (listen); Lombard and Latin: Mantua) is a city and municipality in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the homonymous province.

In 2016 Mantua became the Italian capital of culture. In 2017, Mantua was the European capital of gastronomy, included in the district of eastern Lombardy (together with the cities of Bergamo, Brescia and Cremona).

In 2007, the historic center of Mantua and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO a world heritage site. The historical power and influence of Mantua under the Gonzaga family made it one of the main artistic, cultural and above all musical centers of Northern Italy and the whole country. Mantua is known for its significant role in the history of the opera; the city is also known for its architectural treasures and artefacts, elegant buildings and the medieval and Renaissance urban landscape. It is the place where the composer Monteverdi presented his work L'Orfeo and where Romeo was banished from the theatrical work of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. It is the closest city to the birthplace of the Roman poet Virgil, who was commemorated by a statue in the park on the lake "Piazza Virgiliana".

Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes, created in the XII century as a defense system for the city. These lakes receive water from the Mincio river, a tributary of the Po river that descends from Lake Garda. The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo and Lago Inferiore (lakes "Superiore", "Medio" and "Inferiore" respectively). A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once served as a defensive ring of water around the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century.

The area and its surroundings are important not only in naturalistic terms, but also anthropologically and historically; the research has highlighted a series of human settlements scattered between Boats of Solferino and Bande di Cavriana, Castellaro and Isolone del Mincio. These went back, without interruption, from the Neolithic (5th - 4th millennium BC) to the Bronze Age (2nd - 1st millennium BC) and the Gallic phases (2nd - 1st century BC) and ended with Roman residential settlements , which could be traced back to the third century AD

In 2017, Legambiente classified Mantua as the best Italian city in terms of quality of life and the environment.


Mantua was an island settlement that was founded for the first time around 2000 BC on the banks of the Mincio river, which flows from Lake Garda to the Adriatic Sea. In the 6th century BC, Mantua was an Etruscan village which, in the Etruscan tradition, was re-founded by Ocnus.

The name may derive from the Etruscan god Mantus. After being conquered by the Cenomani, a Gallic tribe, Mantua was subsequently fought between the first and second Punic war against the Romans, who attributed the name to Manto, daughter of Tiresia. This territory was later populated by veteran soldiers of Augustus. Mantua's oldest most famous citizen is the poet Virgil, or Publius Vergilius Maro (Mantua me genuit), born in the year 70 BC. in a village near the city which is now known as Virgil.

After the fall of the Roman Empire

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire at the hands of Odoacre in 476 AD, Mantua was, together with the rest of Italy, conquered by the Ostrogoths. It was taken over by the Eastern Roman Empire in the mid-sixth century after the Gothic war, but was subsequently lost again by the Lombards. They were in turn conquered by Charlemagne in 774, thus incorporating Mantua into the Frankish empire. The divisions of the empire (due to the use of partisan inheritance by the Franks) in the treaties of Verdun and Prüm led to Mantua, passing through Middle France in 843, then to the Kingdom of Italy in 855. In 962 Italy was invaded by King Otto I of Germany and Mantua thus became a vassal of the new empire of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 11th century, Mantua became the possession of Bonifacio di Canossa, Marquis of Tuscany. The last ruler of that family was the Countess Matilde of Canossa (1115 m), who, according to legend, ordered the construction of the precious Rotonda di San Lorenzo (or Roundchurch of San Lorenzo) in 1082. The Rotonda still exists today and was renewed in 2013.

After the death of Matilde of Canossa, Mantua became a free municipality and defended itself strenuously from the influence of the Holy Roman Empire during the XII and XIII centuries. In 1198, Alberto Pitentino altered the course of the Mincio river, creating what the Mantuans call "the four lakes" to strengthen the natural protection of the city. Three of these lakes still remain today and the fourth, which ran through the city center, was recovered during the 18th century.

From 1215, the city was governed under the podesteria of the Guelph poet-statesman Rambertino Buvalelli.

Source: Wikipedia
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