Sunday, 29 August 2010

Ninth instalment

And here we have Mantua - or Mantova! I was nervous about filling my other memory card now (the screen on my digital camera isn't working properly so I couldn't check) so I rationed my photos, but there were some beautiful sights that I just had to capture.


We saw those swallowtail crenellations again! Mantova was ruled by the Gonzaga family, who were supporters of the Emperor rather than the Pope in a dispute over lands of northern Italy; the swallowtails were in some way indicative of this allegiance (I'm not sure I fully understand it to be honest! As far as I'm concerned, there were lots of beautiful battlements to be seen in the part of Italy we visitied, which made for some lovely photos...)


We spent about an hour hurtling through the amazing Palazzo Ducale, absorbing as much as we could of the lovely rooms and especially the Mantegna frescoes - sadly you're not allowed to take photos in many areas of the Palazzo and as it wasn't entirely clear in which rooms you did have permission, I decided it would be better to just look and enjoy and buy a book at the end!

We wandered round Mantova for a bit, popping into this fascinating Rotonda:


You can see that it's set below street level? That's because the street level has risen since the church was built in medieval times. At one point in its history the roof was taken off the rotonda, houses were built all round it, and the inside of the church was actually outside - it was used as a courtyard! Then it was restored, the surrounding houses were demolished, the roof rebuilt and it can now be seen as it was originally intended.

One more Mantova pic :-) The city is surrounded on three sides by a river which widens into three lakes. This makes for quite high humidity and a really beautiful setting:


 In the afternoon we went to the Sigurta Park, a stretch of 125 acres which lies about halfway between Mantova and Peschiera. We took the guided tour on the road train then wandered back to a few locations of special interest, admiring the gorgeous views as we went.




And here's something interesting! In the middle of the park are some tennis courts; the grass there is grown from seeds taken from Wimbledon, and tennis players from all over the world come here to use the courts for practice as part of their Wimbledon preparations :-)


One more set of photos to go!

12 comments:

SarahLP said...

Love that Rotuna, reminds me of the Radcliffe Camera (I think it's called..) in Oxford. And that road train - it's a Dotto train! We have one in Eastbourne just the same :o)

Rachel B said...

Wow, these are gorgeous picy's Mel. It all looks so lovely : )

Deb said...

Awesome picturs, Mel. My favorite? The one with the turtles sunning themselves in the pond. :o)

scrappyjacky said...

I love the way the land trains allow you to whizz round the sights...so you can decide which ones you want to go back and look at properly. Some more great photos...we also visited parts of Italy where the streets are on different levels...they'd raised them to help prevent flooding.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Love the pictures from the park!
Rinda

Sian said...

Lovely, lovely photos :)

Scrappi Sandi said...

Great story about that rotunda! I feel as if I came along with you, with this wonderful commentary!!!

Cheri said...

This was really some vacation Mel. How many days and how many places did you visit in all?

melody said...

wow...gorgeous pics chickie! yep..i'd like to standing there...at all of them!

Amy said...

It must be an town planners logistical nightmare with all of the different street levels!
What a lovely park - a great place for a picnic :-)

sharyncarlson said...

Really gorgeous pics, Mel!!

JO SOWERBY said...

lovely city and i love the lush green vegetation
Jo xxx