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“Impressive, inside and out”

Palazzo Ducale Mantova
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Venice Express Walking Tour
Reviewed 4 October 2018

Due to time constraints (mostly hunger pangs), our party did not dawdle going through the Palazzo Ducale, and it still took us a good 90 minutes. We likely could have learned much more about its history be reading all the informational plaques along the way, or by using an audio guide, so those resources are available to visitors who would like more detail. Some parts of it were really impressive and photo-worthy; other parts are less well-preserved. However, it is very extensive, and must have been even more impressive at the time of its construction. Putting it into a historical context really highlights the wealth and power that existed in Mantua at that time. I would encourage visitors to walk around the exterior as well. There are gardens on the city side, but the building can be appreciated even more by walking around the lake side of the exterior. We encountered very few people there, but there is a large moat with a charming installation of figurines suspended over the water and illuminated at night. Very worthwhile!

Thank Teresita_Herndon_VA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"camera degli sposi"
in 19 reviews
"gonzaga family"
in 19 reviews
"palazzo ducale"
in 29 reviews
"ducal palace"
in 13 reviews
"huge palace"
in 5 reviews
"several hours"
in 4 reviews
"earthquake damage"
in 5 reviews
"decorated rooms"
in 4 reviews
"worth a visit"
in 9 reviews
"works of art"
in 4 reviews
"audio guide"
in 8 reviews
"castle complex"
in 2 reviews
"the main attraction"
in 3 reviews
"historical context"
in 2 reviews
"beautiful frescoes"
in 2 reviews
"a great deal"
in 3 reviews
"from room to room"
in 2 reviews

7 - 11 of 1,916 reviews

Reviewed 1 October 2018

Beautiful, enormous palace complex built by the enormously rich and powerful Gonzague family over 5 centuries;
We decided to focus on the brilliant frescoes by Andrea Mantegna in the Camera degli Sposi, before visiting the rest of the palace, and are very glad we did!
After Mantegna's masterpiece, the rest of the palace art fades. Not that it is uninteresting, far from it, but it doesn't have the same impact.
However, the architecture is beautiful and diverse.
This is actually the largest residence in Italy after the Vatican! For centuries, this was the home of the Gonzague family, dukes of Mantua who ruled until 1707, putting their stamp on everything ( much as the Medicis in Florence).
It includes a castle with moats (filled with water and humorous art: like tuttus imitating swans), more than 500 rooms (fortunately many are closed), courtyards, sumptuous galleries, peaceful gardens. There is plenty to see, from precious tapestries, a glittering mirror-gallery and masterpieces by Raphael, to a zodiac painted 16th-century ceiling fresco by Lorenzo Costa. and many funny trompe-l-oeil everywhere!
Not to be missed! Wear good shoes and get a guide if possible, or read about it before going

1  Thank ginsengNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 September 2018 via mobile

The Ducal Palace complex and St George’s Castle are a series of magnificent buildings. It’s huge and undoubtedly costly and complex for the government to run. Unfortunately this is all too obvious. The first oddity is the ticket office, which mysteriously is not at the museum entrance but out to the right in another entrance. You get your ticket and go off to yet another entrance down the road then after the first part of your visit you go back to the original entrance. The audioguides are not to be recommended as there is little of real interest that you can’t read in the rooms and, most importantly, the information doesn’t correspond to reality because often the paintings have been moved around or changed completely. Also, quite rare nowadays internationally, there is no reduction for over 60s. Three tickets and two audioguides cost 51 euro. On a positive note guide dogs were admitted and the custodians were kind. The saddest evidence of cuts to spending on culture lies in the fact that many rooms were closed, including some of the highlights such as the Apartments of Isabella d’Este. A further signal of government abandonment is all too obvious in the euphemistically named Food Court which turned out to be a group of vending machines. There is no cafè and a very untempting bookshop. When one thinks of the wonderful museum shops around the world it’s hard to understand why it doesn’t make sense to have one in Mantua, selling quality items. Surely it would help plump the coffers. A foreign friend asked why, if staff cost too much, doesn’t the Museum use volonteers. Why indeed?
I would suggest shortening the visit and focusing on the real points of interest and trying to bring them to life, in line with contemporary international museology. It would be so worth it. As it is it’s like a splendid but dusty heirloom nobody knows quite what to do with.

1  Thank BettyRuLes2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2018

Nice castle, great frescos, lots of history about the Gonzaga family. Nice collection of ancient artifacts and right in the center of town. If you visit Mantua, you must go there. Tickets cost 13 Euros.

Thank CoachLo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 10 August 2018

Luxurious palace filled with great art work including Camera degli Sposi and tapestries designed by Rafael.

Thank Lawrence H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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