Italian land is fascinating that I can never get over it. Being in this country no matter where I am at, I always find something so inspiring that I can write up and pour my feeling in it. It is colourful, it is intimating and somehow it is kind of sexy. That is what I feel for Italy and for Italian people.
Mantova or Mantua, the small town of Lombardy seems to get so much charm but not many people notice it. You could easily miss it while heading to Verona, Venice or Milan. It is, however, a place worth to make a stop for one or two days. The cultural and artistic aspects got me chilled when I took my first glance in the late evening while on my way to Beatilla – my country stay for the long weekend. I was amazed by its entrance from the highway to the old town leading by a bridge slicing the river into two. It was like the road to a new kingdom which was far lost in the mystery. It was found and it dazzled me by its charmingly Italian vibe.
I stayed in a farm resort and took a bike ride to Mantova one day. Crossing multiple land fields, cow farms, and I realised that was kind of fun, somehow different from most my travels. Staying in the city sometimes could be hectic even though I gotta admit the convenience. Mantova is not so big but going on a bike made me feel like putting myself into the non-tourist lifestyle. I was not yet in the old town but it was overwhelmed enough with all the old architectures and the massive Palazzo Ducale. The place is nowhere to be missed because of its performance on the outside and also it stands right at the beginning of the old town entrance. Each room of Ducale is a master piece and you wouldn’t help but wonder how all those paintings could be made. It seems to be something normal for those who visit palaces or castles often but Ducale could surprise you and give you a hint of what you could expect from this small town. If you haven’t found it impressive enough, you would be speechless by the time you stood under the roof of Sala dei Giganti painted by Giulio Romano at Palazzo Te, just like I was.
It was a calming walk in the sun to small alleys which I found so pleasant to be surrounded by old houses with full of warm colours. Being in Mantova reminded me of the time when I was in Genova because somehow the atmosphere was very similar – not packed by tourists, things going slowly and no hassle for tourist attractions.
It might be a small town but its popularity for food is known. Quattro Tette is the finest typical Italian dining which you gotta rush to try their food. They only open for more than 2 hours a day (12:00 – 14:30) but it is worth to try their Tortelli Di Zucca or Risotto con Salsiccia/Alla Pilota – the traditional dishes from Mantova. The other day, I went easy on food so there I took a Piadina – a quick snack looking like a tortilla crepe at La Piadeniria. Even that simple tortilla Italy could make it so right. When the night came, I couldn’t miss that Aperitivo time when I could get my exquisite Italian wine with some small snacks. That stroll around Mantova got me discover Cue C’é C’é Bar which the design caught my eyes completely because of its contrast from the town. It is nothing like an Italian cafe bar and certainly it got the industrial look going on with a touch of French flavour. That chic bar turned from a hippy place for coffee during the day to a classy hangout spot for youngsters for the Aperitivo time.
By the end of the trip, I actually thought that I could move myself there one day. I got hooked by the Italian culture and lifestyle in this place.Things seem so easy-going, and people are always welcoming. If that could ever happen…
Vicolo Nazione, 4
(Opening time: 12:00 – 14:30)
Via Giovanni Battista Spagnoli, 18
Cue C’é C’é Bar
Via Calvi Pietro Fortunato, 11
Gelateria Pappa Reale
Via Giovanni Chiassi, 89
+39 0376 365517