Piazza delle Erbe is the beating heart of Mantua’s elegant Renaissance historic center. It is also home to three of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed city’s most famous monuments: the 13th-century civic hall, Palazzo della Ragione; Bartolomeo Manfredi’s 15th-century clock tower; and the 11th-century Rotonda di San Lorenzo, the city’s oldest church.
As its name suggests, Piazza delle Erbe was once Mantua’s marketplace, and today it is both the cultural and social center of the city. Visit its sights or simply relax with a cappuccino at one of the many cafés that line the square to enjoy the local flavor. Walking tours of Mantua include an in-depth visit to this historic square, and Mantua’s proximity to Verona means that you can easily combine a visit to both landmark cities in one day.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The historic center of Mantua is quite compact and easily walkable, but be sure to wear comfortable shoes to tour the sights.
- Most of the square is closed to traffic, so it is relatively kid-friendly.
- Many of the streets in the historic center are lined with arcades and porticoes, protecting pedestrians from sun and rain.
- Piazza delle Erbe is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Mantua is located just south of Lake Garda, about halfway between Milan and Venice. Piazza delle Erbe is in the city center, about a 10-minute walk from the train station.
When to Get There
Like many cities in northern Italy, Mantua can be cold and wet in the winter months. Plan to visit in the summer, when the weather is mild and the skies are clear so you can enjoy a stroll through the center.
Sights in Verona
If you combine your Mantua visit with a tour of Verona—where Shakespeare's tale of Romeo and Juliet is set—you can explore sites including Piazza delle Erbe, the city’s former Roman Forum and now home to Lamberti Tower (Torre dei Lamberti), the Mazzanti Houses, and the Madonna Verona Fountain (Fontana Madonna Verona); the Verona Arena (Arena di Verona); Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta); Piazza dei Signori; Palazzo Maffei; and Castelvecchio.