Mantua Castle & palace tours

Our most recommended Mantua Castle & palace tours

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

1. 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: St. George's Castle & Ducal Palace Private Tour

2. Mantua: St. George's Castle & Ducal Palace Private Tour

The origins of Mantua date back to the Etruscan time, when Mantua was a god of Hades. The great Latin poet Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro 70-10 B.C.) was born here. Visiting Mantua, walking along the old town heart is like stepping back in time. During this 2.5-hour walking tour, your expert local guide will take you to discover two of the most important building in Mantua: the Castle of St. George and the Ducal Palace. Let's start from the first one. St. George's Castle is the first historical building that welcomes the visitors as they enter the town of Mantua. Built by Francesco Gonzaga between 1395 and 1406 on the project by Bartolino da Novara, the castle was originally meant for the defense of the city, and then it became a residence of the family. After a renovation required by the marquis Ludovico II Gonzaga in 1459, the castle lost its original defensive role and became one of the most important examples of the Italian Renaissance when Andrea Mantegna painted the famous Camera degli Sposi (The Bridal Chamber). After your visit of the castle, walk to the most representative square or Mantua, Piazza Sordello, where your visit inside the Ducal Palace will start. The palace represents the main residence of the Gonzaga family, lords, marquises and finally, the dukes of the city. Under the Austrian domination with Maria Teresa of Austria, it was called Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace). Interestingly, the palace was built in different times starting from the 13th-century, first by the Bonacolsis and then by the Gonzagas. Many different parts, buildings, courts and gardens compose the palace, which you will have the chance to get to know and admire through this guided walking tour. Get ready to experience Mantua in a way you wouldn't expect. One final tip: you might want to bring along your camera.

  • Guided tours
  • Private tours
3 activities found
Sort by:

Other Sightseeing Options in Mantua

Want to discover all there is to do in Mantua? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Mantua

Manuela is a very cultured and passionate guide of her work. Very affable and engaging, he impeccably illustrated the beauties of the city. In addition, he even dedicated an hour more than the scheduled time to us. My family and I were really very satisfied. Highly recommended.

To be recommended

The guide, Manuela, is very good and very prepared. His guide is absolutely recommended to understand the value of Mantua's works of art and history

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!

Mantua was full of wonderful surprises and our tour guide Manuela organized and exiting tour of the city center. A city worth visiting!

A morning among the beauties of Mantua

Manuela was a special guide. Thanks to the passion for his work he made us discover the real treasures of Mantua.