Hear about travel to Mantua, Verona, Padua Italy as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gina Mussio from ginamussio.com 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.
Camera degli Sposi
Rotonda di San Lorenzo
Mantua and Sabbioneta
Antica Osteria ai Ranari
Piazza delle Erbe, Verona
San Zeno Basilica
San Lorenzo Basilica
Prato della Valle
Orto botanico di Padova
University of Padua
Piazza delle Erbe (Padua)
Piazza delle Fruta
Piazza del Signori
Snapshots of Mantova
History of the Verona Arena
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