I visited Mantua yesterday. Stone cold Mantua, as I’ll now think of it. Before I begin, for anyone considering taking a bus through the mountain regions of Italy, consider valium before the trip. And I heard a horrible story about people going to assist accident victims on the other side of the bridge not realizing there was a gap that plummets to the bottom of the mountain, falling several 100 feet to their death. For those of you who can, imagine the impression that made on me.
Mantua, in spite of the cold, is lovely. Driving on a bridge with it back lit in the fog and afternoon rays, it looked like a ghost town. Surrounded by lakes, I’m certain I would visit again in the summer. Really lovely. We toured the Palazzo del Te, a mannerist masterpiece by Giulio Romano, which houses the famous painting on the ceiling that shows Apollo’s, umm, underside as he is riding the chariot. Very up close and in person, I couldn’t help but be struck by the sense of humor by Romano.
After that was the Ducal Palace, or as I now think of it, the coldest place on the planet (never wish to live in a palace, or you could end up here on a February day). However, incredible art in here. The room of giants, where Zeus crushes them by blowing up stone with his thunderbolts, uses the entire room as the canvas. No surface is left untouched. The tapestries, how? Anyway, I can’t explain it all because at some point my brain began to frost over. Oh, but the family that built it thought it would be a great idea if their horses could take them to their rooms, so ramps wound up into their bed chamber. Part of me, of the never ending stairs, relates.
However, the best and warmest thing about Mantua, once again involves food — the local dish. Pumpkin stuffed ravioli in butter and cheese. Mmmmm. Just thinking about it brings the moment my tastebuds rejoiced dancing back into my mind. Perhaps not as tasty as the pear and cheese ravioli I will insist all of my visitors try when they come, but very close.
I had my camera for this trip, but haven’t developed the film yet. Will post when I can.