Mantua and Cremona are great holiday destinations if you love nature, culture, music and good food. In fact, these two Lombardy cities have everything needed to keep tourists with differing interests happy.
Mantua is surrounded on 3 sides by lakes (Superiore, Di Mezzo e Inferiore), which were created in the past to defend the city. Awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008, Mantua should be explored on foot, slowly, losing yourself in the city’s streets. The House of Gonzaga has significantly marked the history of the city, allowing it to become one of the representative centres of the Renaissance. And the city’s passion for art and literature continues to this day: the city was the Italian Capital of Culture in 2016.
Cremona has a unique charm: walking along its roads, you’ll be mesmerised by the beauty of one of the first cities in Italy to establish itself as a free municipality. Of particular interest are the musical instrument shops, in the Stradivarius’ and the voilin’s homeland.
And just outside the cities, you will find yourself in unspoilt countryside. Pedalling along the many cycle paths in the Valli del Mincio nature reserve or the Po Park or taking a boat trip, are some of the best ways to explore the area’s flora and fauna. Don’t miss visiting Lodi and Crema, little-known cities, but which are surprisingly full of interest.
And to unwind after the effort of walking or cycling, there’s always traditional food and wine to come to the rescue: a bowl of pumpkin tortelli and a piece of nougat will get even the most exhausted travellers back on their feet.
Visit the Ducal Palace in Mantua, the Gonzaga’s palace that houses the splendid Camera degli Sposi, the bridal chamber, painted by Mantegna
Amaze yourself at the Palazzo Te, where Giulio Romano’s frescoes 'trick' the eye: don’t miss the sensational Sala dei Giganti, the room of giants.
Lose yourself in the chapels and altars of Mantua Cathedral
Discover Sabbioneta, one of Italy’s prettiest villages, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Go for a walk in the protected area of the nature reserve in the Mincio valley, a landscape with unique appeal
Admire Cremona Cathedral, which dominates the piazza del Comune with its imposing façade
Climb the 502 steps to the top of Torrazzo di Cremona: the effort is well worth it, for the panoramic view
Visit the Violin Museum in Cremona, a must-see in the city that is considered the capital of instrument making
Take a break and see the flora and bird life close up at the river Po Park
Cycle along the Naviglio Cycleway: 27km of flat cycleway from Cremona as far as the Tombe Morte, hydraulic river junction, at Genivolta