April 15, 2012

Mantua: A Cultural City Guide

Do you remember Virgil, the ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period who wrote the Bucolics, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid? Well, if so perhaps you remember where he was born and the verse inscription—supposedly composed by the poet himself—at his tomb in Posillipo, near Naples: “Mantua me genuit; Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc Parthenope. Cecini pascua, rura, duces” (“Mantua gave birth to me, the Calabrians took me, now Naples holds me; I sang of pastures, country and leaders”). Okay, why do I say that? Simply because in today’s Telegraph Helen Pickles offers an essential cultural guide to Mantua, the “overlooked Renaissance gem,” a mini-Florence, rich with art, intrigue and infidelities that is wrapped in water, where the Mincio broadens into three lakes… Unmissable—both the guide and the city, ça va sans dire.