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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

A Weekend in Mantova

Mantova was the last city that our class stayed in during our recent week-long field trip, and lucky for us, we arrived on the weekend during a special event in Mantova called La Notte Bianca, or The White Night. Visiting the city of Mantova was a fantastic way to end to our long trip, and although there was a lot to learn – the environment was quite relaxing during the day and a lot of fun during the night! Perhaps it was because we arrived during the night of La Notte Bianca, but it seemed that everyone in the town was out and having a great time during the late hours in the city.

Mantova is a city in Lombardy, Italy and is surrounded by artificial lakes on three sides. These lakes were originally created as a defense system for the city during the 12th century. As a result, the scenery of Mantova is almost always somewhat foggy and almost ephemeral at times. The weather is cool and the skies are the most welcoming and friendly shades of blue and gray.

 

In the morning, the nearby lakes always are covered by a beautiful fog. Photograph by Andres Romero Pompa.
In the morning, the nearby lakes always are covered by a beautiful fog. Photograph by Andres Romero Pompa.

Photograph by Andres Romero Pompa.
Walking to our Hotel. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes on this cobblestone! Photograph by Andres Romero Pompa.

We had actually taken the bus to the city of Verona for the day to learn about a few architectural sites there, you can read about it in Anna’s post here, but when we arrived back in Mantova for the night, we were able to explore the city during La Notte Bianca. Unfortunately, I only have a few low-quality iPhone photographs of the event, and none of the photographers were able to take photos (they were all having too much fun exploring the city!!), but I hope my description can create an image of the event.

 

Essentially, the entirety of the city was awake and having an amazing time from 11:00pm to 3:00am. All restaurants and cafes were open and even had special menus, shops reopened for the night crowds, and there were so many live musical performances happening at every corner in the city. At one point, I specifically remember Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” being blasted with the bass rolling through the alleyway. It was so surreal! I walked through the foreign city at night with my friends just soaking up every aspect of the environment. A lot of talented musicians with a variety of musical styles were performing that night – piano players, guitarists, singers… crowds would gather at every intersection to stop and enjoy the music.

The entire city was awake and walking about.
The entire city was awake and walking about.

A very talented DJ on one street corner. Projected behind him were some famous architectural sites that we actually learned about on this trip (this one being St Mark's Campanile in Venice).
A very talented DJ on one street corner performed for a large crowd. Coincidentally, projected behind him were some famous architectural sites that we actually learned about on this trip (this one being St Mark’s Campanile in Venice).
iPhone photograph I took of my friends Danica, Andres (one of our photographers!), and John walking through the city during La Notte Bianca.
iPhone photograph I took of my friends Danica, Andres (one of our photographers!), and John walking through the city during La Notte Bianca.

Our stay in Mantova was a fun way to end our trip

for the Sunday after La Notte Bianca was a very long bus ride back to Rome! I’m very glad that we arrived during the time we did and were able to have such an amazing time in a wonderful city.

 

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