Fodor's Expert Review Palazzo Ducale
The 500-room palace that dominates the Mantua skyline was built for the Gonzaga family, though much of the art within the castle was sold or stolen as the dynasty waned in power and prestige. A glimpse of past grandeur can still be spotted in the Camera degli Sposi (literally, the "Wedded Couple's Room") where Duke Ludovico and his wife held court. Mantegna painted the hall over a nine-year period at the height of his power, finishing at age 44. Only 25 people at a time are allowed in the room and for only five minutes at a time (though sometimes longer in low season); reservations are recommended, either by phone or online (www.ducalemantova.org).