Having a car in Mantova?

Aug 10th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Having a car in Mantova?

We're heading to Northern Italy for 12 days at the beginning of October - starting with 4 nights in Bologna, then renting a car and spending 4 more just outside of Florence. For our last leg, the original plan was to spend a few days/nights in the Veneto, in the countryside somewhere near either Verona or Padua (been to Venice several times in the past, don't plan on returning this time, even though we love it there).

We'll be with another couple that we've travelled with many times in the past, and we've now found what appears to be a great place in Mantova - here's the link


Normally in Europe, we keep a car only when we're in the country or a small town, as we've had a few hair-raising car experiences in cities. Can anyone weigh-in on the difficulty of having a car in a mid-sized city such as Mantova? It seems Verona is fairly close, maybe 25 miles away, so we could still drive there.

Or would it make more sense to get rid of the car after Tuscany? We could train from Mantova to Verona, I suppose. Then, at the end of our stay, we need to get to Malpensa airport for the trip home.

I like the independence of having a car, so I'm a bit torn on what to do in this situation.

Would also welcome any recommendations on things to see and do in Mantova - have read a bit about the Ducal Palace and Palazzo Te, but don't know much more about the city. Any restaurant recommendations would also be welcome.

phillyboy is offline  
Aug 10th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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We had a car in Mantova and it was not a problem. We actually stayed at Palazzo Arrivabene and they let us park in the back. They will take care of getting u registered (or whatever is required) so that u can drive in the TLZ which u need to do to get to their B&B. We enjoyed Mantova -- it has lovely piazza's and a very relaxed atmosphere.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 03:12 AM
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Thanks, yestravel.
Any other thoughts about this would be appreciated.
phillyboy is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 05:09 AM
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I'm not sure we have notes from our couple days in Mantova. I'm out of town for a few days and can check when I return. The B&B was really great -- its owned/run by a son and his lovely Mom who doesn't speak English. We had a funny incident when we arrived. The son, who does speak English, was away on business and the Mother checked us in. We needed to figure out how to navigate the TLZ and between our fractured Italian, our Spanish and her spattering of English we mimed how to do it. My husband ended up backing up a street which the Mother thought very funny. Later the son told us it was the "Italian thing" to have done. Anyway, they were delightful owners. What I remember was a charming smaller town that was a pleasure to stroll about. We did the major sites, had some very delicious meals and generally had a relaxing time. We did do a day trip to Parma and a few towns South of Mantova. Can't say how close Verona was to drive to, but I would definitely check it out. Another really nice town. Don't know about the car deal there as we took the train and walked during our time there.
yestravel is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 05:16 AM
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Hi, I write you from (near..) Milan.

Yes, I think that having the car it's a good idea.
You can use the car to visit some small / beautiful places not far from Mantova, for example I mean Sabbioneta and Cremona...

Gianni P.
Gianni is offline  
Aug 11th, 2011, 05:46 AM
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Personally I'd ditch the car- we took the bus from Mantova to Sabbioneta and the train to Cremona- both well worth a visit. The Ducal Palace and Palazzo del Te in Mantova are wonderful!
I loved Mantova- one of my favourite small Italian cities
bellini is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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Thanks, two people say a car is ok and one says ditch it. We will probably keep it, because returning it upon arrival in Mantova would mean paying a daily rate for 4 days, as opposed to returning it to Malpensa at the end of our trip, by which time we'd get the weekly rate. The difference is only about $90 US, so even if we take a day trip by train, it seems to be worth it if only to save the cost of 4 train fares plus bus fare to Milan Malpensa. Parking at our Mantova Hotel is free.

If anyone is familiar with the city, would appreciate any insights, restaurant recommendations, etc.

phillyboy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 01:10 PM
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Phillyboy, you've come to the right place. I had the good fortune to stay with Signora Bini in May 2010 at Palazzo Arrivabene. I speak pretty fluent Italian, so we were able to converse easily. Claudio was never home by the time I got up. I had a rental car and parked right in front of the B&B. Signora Bini gave me a form to place in the windshield for the three days I stayed. No traffic violation! I frankly didn't use the car during my stay, but I was going on to Lake Garda, and, like you, it was cheaper to just keep it. As far as Mantova sights go, don't miss the Palazzo Te. It was well worth the 20 minute walk.

Closer to "home", if you are a classical music lover like me don't miss the Bibiena Theater in the centro storico. You can tour it independently when there is no performance. It is rather miniature and charming. Mozart performed there when he was 13. (Google it for a lovely picture.)

I found the most fantastic gelato place on a side street not far from the B&B. It is called "Maison du Chocolat", via Oberdan 14. Don't miss it if you like gelato. There is also a wonderful bakery in the historical center called Pasticceria Antoniazzi, via Accademia 54, www.pasticceriaantoniazzi.it. Pricey, but worth it. On the opposite side of via Accademia, closer to the Palazzo Ducale, at #9A, you will find the most excellent cafe, called appropriately Caffè Accademia. It has won one of those "Gamberro Rosso" awards. Buy your pastry at Antoniazzi and take it back to the cafe to have with your drink. Mantova is a walking city. Every time I thought I was going to fall over I dragged myself to the Accademia for another macchiato (espresso with foamed milk) - YUM!

My most memorable meal was at a very traditional, authentic trattoria called Osteria ai Ranari, via Trieste 11. www.ranari.it. Great food, reasonably priced. I remember the pumpkin-filled tortelli with sage and butter sauce - heaven. In general I avoided eating on the main squares. Given the choice I'd take excellent food over the view at a price anytime. If I can think of any other pointers I'll get back to you. Enjoy Mantova. It is a real jewel of an Italian city. And say Ciao to Signora Bini from Martha (Houston). Thanks!
Gariem is offline  
Aug 17th, 2011, 02:09 PM
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That is some great information, will take your recommendations with us.

Thank you!
phillyboy is offline  
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