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Palazzo Ducale, Mantua

4.3
#3 of 106 in Things to do in Mantua
Must see · Architectural Building · Historic Site
More like a small city than a palace, Palazzo Ducale features 500 rooms built from the 14th century onwards. It covers 3.5 hectares (8.6 acres). Explore the complex's buildings, inner courtyards, and gardens. You'll see large frescoes, intricate wooden detailing, Roman artifacts, and paintings by local and famous Italian artists. Visit the duke's apartments, which for four centuries was home to Mantua's Gonzaga family. Use our Mantua trip itinerary planning website to visit Palazzo Ducale on your trip to Mantua, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Palazzo Ducale reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
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4.5
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  • This palace is a must see. It will take you a couple of hours if you stop and admire each room filled with frescoes. Unfortunately there is no furniture except for the occasional table.  more »
  • We had high expectations and were not disappointed. Do pay the extra and visit the camera degli sposi, which is breath-taking. There are very good explanations of all pictures and other features...  more »
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  • An architectural masterpiece designed as a setting for the life of a cultured Renaissance court. Dominating the walled town of Urbino in the Marche region of Italy, Palazzo Ducale (“Ducal Palace”) was created to satisfy the social and cultural ambitions of Federico da Montefeltro (1422–1482), a minor aristocrat who had won fame and fortune as a mercenary general. Duke Federico aspired to make his court a renowned center of humanist learning and civilized manners. Courtly life. From 1465, Federico employed architect Luciano Laurana to rebuild and extend the existing castle at Urbino. Laurana created two slender towers, with a loggia (covered area) between them, providing fine views over the surrounding hills. Inside the building, a monumental stairway led from an arcaded courtyard to the upper stories. Federico’s devotion to Classical learning was evident in a magnificent library, an exquisite personal study (the studiolo), and a “temple of the muses” dedicated to the deities of ancient Rome. Succeeding Laurana after 1472, engineer Francesco di Giorgio Martini installed an innovative plumbing system that showed regular baths were a part of the Duke’s ideal of civilized living. The wit and elegance of the courtly life at Urbino were later celebrated by Baldassare Castiglione in his Book of the Courtier (1528). The palace now houses an outstanding collection of Renaissance art.
  • The beautiful Palazzo Ducale is easily accessible as it is the heart of the city of Mantova. From the outside you can perceive it’s size, but once you’re visiting it on the inside you get to understand what a labyrinth it actually is. Is has a incredible amount of rooms, which almost all of them have been restored to their best state. Their ceilings are known to be one by one a masterpiece in themselves. It’s a real treat to the eye, a visit to this palace. This visit will take you some time though, as it is so large inside. Good to know is that tickets are free for architecture students, as long as you prove it.
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