Travel to Northern Italy (Mantua, Verona, Padua) – Episode 552

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Travel to Northern Italy (Mantua, Verona, Padua) - One week itinerary (Podcast)

Hear about travel to Mantua, Verona, Padua Italy as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gina Mussio from about these wonderful cities in her adopted country.

Gina came to Italy to study the language but stayed when she married an Italian. She lives in Milan and wants us to know more about these 3 historic cities between Milan and Venice.

She says, “I think that when people focus on the smaller towns in Italy they often focus on the smaller towns of Tuscany, which are incredible. But living in Lombardy, I’ve been able to explore a lot of the small towns here and I wanted to show people that they’re worth a visit also. Some of them are just as beautiful and just as historic and have just as delicious food as the hill towns of Tuscany.”

She lays out a week-long itinerary for these 3 cities that starts in Mantua which is closest to Milan. Mantua is a city in the fertile Po River Valley. Mantua was named the Italian Capital of Culture in 2016 and the European capital of gastronomy in 2017. Its old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site. “Mantua is this wonderful little town in the fields of Lombardy. It is the hometown of the poet Virgil. Vivaldi the composer lived there. It is where Romeo was exiled to in Romeo and Juliet.” Gina guides us to the Ducal Palace, and to a selection of the churches and piazzas in the town. she recommends we sample the Pumpkin Tortelli and Risotto.

We move on to Verona, most famous for Romeo and Juliet. The Verona Arena is still used for summer operas which Gina highly recommends. The most famous landmark is Romeo & Juliet’s House. We talk about the odd myths around the whalebone which hangs above the Piazza delle Erbe. Supposedly it will fall on the first “truthful and just person” to walk under it. After touring some of the local churches she recommends we stop for a meal of donkey meat.

The last town is nearby Padua. Padua has one of the oldest Universities in Italy. “Padua is a medieval city in Veneto. We are getting closer to the sea here. You can really see the Venetian Republic’s influence on it in the architecture and the richness of the city. It’s absolutely beautiful.” Its most notable site is the Scrovegni Chapel with its Last Judgment fresco by the artist Giotto. You will need to book ahead to see the chapel. She recommends a stop at 3 of the piazzas: Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza delle Fruta, Piazza del Signori. Gina recommends we stop or a spritz.

With’s their history, architecture, and food, these cities may also become your favorites.

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Show Notes

Gina Mussio
Po Valley
Piazza Sordello
Palazzo Ducale
Camera degli Sposi
Palazzo Te
Teatro Bibiena
Rotonda di San Lorenzo
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Antica Osteria ai Ranari
Piazza Bra
Verona Arena
Piazza delle Erbe, Verona
San Zeno Basilica
San Lorenzo Basilica
Lake Garda
Prato della Valle
Orto botanico di Padova
University of Padua
Scrovegni Chapel
Piazza delle Erbe (Padua)
Piazza delle Fruta
Piazza del Signori
Snapshots of Mantova
History of the Verona Arena



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Travel to Northern Italy (Mantua, Verona, Padua) - One week itinerary (Podcast)

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

4 Responses to “Travel to Northern Italy (Mantua, Verona, Padua) – Episode 552”



Great pod as always and loved your guest.
I agree about the food. Had a truly delightful “farmyard” pasta, all ingredients were from the farmyard, in a little village on the outskirts of Verona in a little family restaurant I’d never have found unless I’d been in the company of a local!
I agree about Spritz as an Aperitivo. It seems bizzare that my first Spritz was actually in Prague!!!
Wonder when you will be in Ireland in October as that is when we are planning to spend a few days there?



Thank you for another great show, Chris! Very timely for me as my children and I will be in Venice in six months. I was considering a side trip to Verona but this show has decided for me. How wonderful to be going there. I can’t promise to eat the donkey meat but I will faithfully visit Miss Capulet’s balcony.

I’ll be in London and Scotland beforehand; maybe your trip to Ireland will include one of those? I’d love a chance to thank you in person for all of your incredible podcasts, particularly the ones on Britain and Europe – they have been invaluable to me planning my European trip. I often re-listen to them to ensure that I’ve covered everything I want to visit and do but I always seem stumble on something I want to add to my itinerary. I appreciate your and your interviewees attention to detail, wealth of knowledge and generous sharing of advice.

Enjoy your travel in 2017!
Many thanks, Rachel (Brisbane, Australia)



Ha, I understand about the donkey meat. I am not sure I will have time to extend my Ireland trip this time. Glad the show has been of use!



Italy such a great country, I know better Tuscany than the north east. Just visited Venice and Verona and I was a blast. Great food, great culture, great history. looking forward to go back in Italy, Puglia will be my next journey. Gargano, magic place, I have been there many time. If you wish to visit, please ask.

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