210 Route 36. MANTUA. From Verona
lakes, formed here by the Mincio, into the Lago Superiore (W.),
and the Lago di Mezzo (E.).
25 M. Mantua. The station lies in the Contrada degli Stabili
(PL A, 3, 4). ____________
Mantua. — Hotels. Aquila d'ORO; Croce Verde, or Fenice, R.
2-3, A. 1, L. 3/i, omnibus l'/2 fr.; Agnello d'Oro, all three in the Con¬
trada Croce Verde (PL C, 4) and unpretending. — The traveller is not
recommended to spend the night at Mantua in summer, as the mosquitoes
here are extremely troublesome. — A stay of 4-6 hrs. is enough to give a
satisfactory idea of this interesting town. The traveller should engage a
cab at the station for 1 hr., drive to the (12 min.) Palazzo del Te, which
may be seen in 1/2 hr., and then drive to S. Andrea or the Cathedral.
Cafi Partenope, opposite the Croce Verde (cup of coffee 15 c).
Cab per drive 75c, first hr. lfr. 50c, each following i/2 hr. 50c
Mantua, Ital. Mantova, a very ancient town founded by the
Etruscans, with 28,150 inhab. (3000 Jews), is a provincial capital
and strongly fortified place, bounded on the N.W. by the Lago
Superiore, on the N.E. by the Lago di Mezzo, on the E. by the Lago
Inferiore, and on the S. and S.W. by marshy land, which in case
of a siege is capable of being laid under water.
Mantua is mentioned in ancient times as the home of Virgil, who is
said to have been born at the village of Pietole (the ancient Andes?), 3 M.
to the S.E., but it was not till the middle ages that it became a place
of importance. In the conflicts of the Hohenstaufen period the town em¬
braced the cause of the Guelphs. In 1328 the citizens elected Luigi, Lord
of Gonzaga, as the 'Capitano del Popolo', and to him the town was in¬
debted for its prosperity. The Gonzagas fought successfully against Milan
and Venice, and succeeded in extending their territory, while they were
the liberal patrons of art and science. Giovanni Francesco II. (1407-1444),
the first marquis, invited the learned Vittorino da Feltre to reside at
Mantua, and through him made his court a renowned centre of culture and
education. The beautiful and accomplished Isabella d'Este (1474-1539),
sister of Alphonso, Duke of Ferrara, and mother of Eleonora of TJrbino,
was the wife of Giovanni Francesco III. (1484-1519). She carried on a
lively correspondence with many of the most eminent men of her time, and
collected with most judicious taste numerous valuable books, pictures,
and antiquities. In 1530 Federigo II. was raised to the rank of duke by
Charles V., and in 1536 was invested with the county of Monteferrato
(d. 1540); the chief monument of his reign is the Palazzo del Te (p. 213).
In 1627, when Charles de Nevers, a member of a French collateral line,
took possession of the throne, the Mantuan war of succession broke out,
and the Emperor Ferdinand II. declared the fief forfeited. On 18th July,
1630, Mantua was taken by storm and sacked by the Austrians. Although
the emperor, being hard pressed by the Swedes, was obliged to conclude
a peace in 1631, the town never recovered from this blow. Carlo IV.,
the last duke, having taken the French side in the Spanish war of suc¬
cession , was declared an outlaw in 1703, and Monteferrato was aw arded
to Piedmont, while Mantua was annexed to Austria, and afterwards be¬
came the chief support of the Imperial domination in Italy. After a long
and obstinate defence by General Wurmser, the fortress capitulated to the
French on 2nd February 1797. In accordance with the Peace of Villafranca
the Austrians retained Mantua, although deprived of the rest of Lombardy,
but they were compelled to cede it to Italy in 1866.
Mantua was the scene of the labours of two great Renaissance
Painters. One of these was Andrea Mantegna, who was born at Padua
in 1431, and entered into the service of Lodovico Gonzaga in 1460. The
principal work of his earlier period is preserved in the church of the
Eremitani at Padua. In the life of his compositions, and in the fidelity