Basilica di Sant'Andrea
Piazza delle Erbe
Once the location of the town's vegetable market, Piazza delle Erbe is Mantua's most lively piazza. Its 13th-century Palazzo della...
Rotonda di San Lorenzo
South of the Basilica di Sant’Andrea, across 15th-century colonnaded Piazza delle Erbe, is the 11th-century Romanesque Rotonda di San...
Palazzo della Ragione
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All of Mantua passes through Caravatti at some point during the day for coffee, spritz or Signor Caravatti’s 19th-century aperitif of...
For gastronomic cuisine par excellence, Grifone’s damask tablecloths and heavy silverware – not to mention the plates of local salami...
Basilica di Sant'Andrea information
Lonely Planet review
This towering basilica safeguards the golden vessels said to hold earth soaked by the blood of Christ. Longinus, the Roman soldier who speared Christ on the cross, is said to have scooped up the earth and buried it in Mantua after leaving Palestine. Today, these containers rest beneath a marble octagon in front of the altar and are paraded around Mantua in a grand procession on Good Friday.
Ludovico II Gonzaga commissioned Leon Battista Alberti to design the basilica in 1472. Its vast, arched interior is free from pillars and has just one sweeping central aisle, which is dotted with frescoes, gilded ceiling bosses and columns cleverly painted to look like carved stone.
The first chapel on the left contains the tomb of Andrea Mantegna, the man responsible for the splendours in the Palazzo Ducale's Camera degli Sposi. The chapel is beautifully lit and also contains a painting of the Holy Family and John the Baptist, attributed to Mantegna and his school.