Thursday, March 7, 2019

Another Amazing Wanderlust Wednesday in the Land of the Gonzaga's, Mantova

Wednesday, 6 March, 2019

Today was full of good things to see and eat but would end on a sad note.

Let's take a look at this long but interesting day.

My goal on this latest edition of my Wanderlust Wednesday travels was the city on Montova or Mantua as it is called in English.

As is usual, the day would start with a long bus, train, Metro and again train ride lasting a total of about three and a half hours each way.

I had a book to read so all was good on the seven hour round trip journey.

I got into Milan about 90 minutes before my train from the Milano Centrale train station was scheduled to depart so I went for a walk.

At the HUGE Starbucks store
to just have another look

I will continue to buy my coffee from local merchants.

 Their pastries did look good


The temptations were strong, I had to get out before I weakened.

How old is this child?

Milan has such
grand architecture . . .

 . . . like the Galleria . . .

 . . . it is quite the structure with
lots of high end shopping

Milano's Duomo looked good today

After a good stretch of the legs, it was time to board the Metro for the ride to Milano Centrale.

It was a busy morning
at Milano Centrale


It was a smooth ride on a
mostly empty to Mantova

Among many things, Mantova was the birthplace of the Roman poet Virgil, where Shakespeare's Romeo found out that Juliet was dead, the site of Verdi's tragic opera Rigoletto and the seat of power for the Gonzaga family dynasty.

Near the Mantova train station
I found this interesting edifice

 A canal in Mantova

Who knew?

The Sweet Bird of Youth

 The Basilica di Sant'Andrea
in the distance . . .

. . . and up close

Another look at the Basilica's
massive dome

The Rotonda di San Lorenzo church

It dates from the 11th-century.

The Rotonda di San Lorenzo's
shadowy remains of 12th- and
13th-century frescoes

It is said that all of Mantova
passes through the Caravatti Bar
at some point during the day

A good cappuccino and a honey filled brioche it was for me.

But I was still hungry and my recommended restaurant was about to open.


It was advertised as being spartan and rustic with rough hewn wooden tables beneath barrel-vaulted ceilings.

I had their address, thank goodness, as there were no signs anywhere to direct us to this eatery and, as you can see, there is little from the outside that designates that this is indeed an eating establishment.

It is definitely geared to a local clientele.

The name of today's eatery, you ask?

Why, the Ostereia delle Quattro Tette

 Yes, it means Four Breasts

This place was one up on both Anne Boleyn and that woman in the film Total Recall.

Risotto alla Pilota

It is a classic dish in Mantova made of risotto and spiced sausage.


 A great movie poster of the local
opera favorite Rigoletto

 Piazza Sordello
the hub of old town Mantova

I wonder if Inspector Montalbano
might be visiting here from Sicily
for a criminal investigation
 A drogheria is a grocery store

This great looking sign is not new but the Prosciutteria beneath it is.

I always like a good
astronomical clock

And I thought that I
had a runny nose

 The Palazzo Ducale
Home of the Gonzaga Family

The Palazzo buildings gave the Gonzaga Family a total of 500 rooms to lounge about in at their pleasure.

The Mantova Duomo dedicated
to San Pietro

Nice loin cloth

The top tourist site in Mantova is the Palazzo Ducale which was the home of the horse breeding, powerful and art loving Gonzaga Family who ruled Mantova from 1328 A.D. to 1708 A.D.

Fortunately, only 40 of the 500 rooms are open to the public and, as it turned out, that was more than enough to impress me.

I was lucky, there was no entry fee today.

An original Notre Dame University
football helmet from 1947?

Huge crest above a fireplace

The art work started slowly . . .

 . . . and was sketchy but . . .

. . . picked up quickly

A good looking bishop

Such faces

Mary is so much bigger than
this random Pope

Soldier Down!

The combover is never a good option

One thing that the Gonzaga Family
loved was to decorate their ceilings

The Hall of Mirrors

Rich textures

The Gonzaga family's
1534 A.D. Christmas party

 The view of the Hall of Mirrors
from the other end

Ben Hur during the famous
chariot race scene

 Loving the details

 The Labyrinth ceiling . . .

. . . needed a huge painting to
join the room together
A gust of wind

I just LOVE what you've
done with your hair

And the ceiling mania . . .

. . . goes on . . .

. . . and on . . .

. . . and on!

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . ."

Well, maybe not chestnuts.

Just another small, intimate
gathering spot for the Gonzagas

 Is that her head?
A bearded lady in the Palazzo Ducale?

More ceiling art

Cool hat

Sarcophagus art is always
of interest

One HUGE horse!

I can't believe that the Gonzaga Family didn't possess any tapestries in a Palazzo of this opulence.

Mercury and his family

This is going to leave a mark


Kill the snake!

Another ceiling


For the love of God, how could you
possibly call that pass interference?

 Just another ornate hall

Zodiac Ceiling


 If it is a hall, we MUST
decorate it to the MAX!

Is this politically correct?

Quite the piece of art

 The guest bedroom

I walked into the next room and . . .

. . . BAM!

LOTS of them, the Gonzagas saved the best for almost last.

The Baby Jesus looks like
he's been hitting the gym

A transparent Jesus ascending into
heaven while handing the Keys to
Kingdom to Peter

 Of course she is out in the garden
holding a man's head

 Jeering the loser of a fight

A man and his pet bull

Helping the downtrodden

Done with my visit to the Palazzo Ducale, I had about 15 minutes before the nearby Gonzaga Castelo San Giorgio opened to the public.

The home of the famed Rigoletto,
the hunchbacked court jester of the
 Duke of Mantova

Castelo San Giorgio

An old, eroding crest


More ceiling art in the Castelo this time.

The top draw in the Castelo is the Bridal Chamber.

Lodovico Gonzaga going about
his royal business

Lots of art work in the Bridal Chamber

One huge wall of art

A holy woman from Mantova

Lodovico's wife Barbara
holding court

Barbara's skirt is detailed

Fun loving kid I'm sure

 "Every woman's crazy 'bout
a sharped dressed man!"

 The Gonzagas LOVED the chance
to paint a hallway

The entire Gonzaga complex was just amazing and well worth a visit when you come to Mantova.

Audrey and her classic look

Next up was a quick stop at the small but interesting Teatro Bibiena.


It opened in 1769 A.D.

If you want to be seen as a patron
of the arts by your peers, get a box
seat BEHIND the stage!

Finally, it was time to head back to the train station to return home but I had one more stop to make to the massive Basilica di Sant'Andrea.

Well that made me want to look 
around a bit more

Excellent decorations

 An impressive Main Altar

What is this Octagon in front of
the Main Altar all about?

It contains relics from the Crucifixion

The story is that there are golden vessels entered here that contain earth soaked in the blood of Christ.

Longinus, the Roman soldier who speared Christ on the cross, is said too have scooped up the earth and buried it in Mantova on his return from Palestine.

The golden vessels are taken out each year on Good Friday and paraded around Mantova.

Another look at the Basilica
with musical accompaniment

 So long to BEAUTIFUL Mantova!

I definitely got my exercise today!

Reading Is FUNdamental!

Another good Leon book about
Venice's great policeman
Guido Brunetti

As is usual each day, I called Laurie to check in and was given some really sad news.

Our long time family friends, the Murphys, had tragedy strike.

Their oldest son, Ian, passed away overnight in California after battling health issues for the last few years.

R.I.P. Ian Murphy

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