• Religious Tourism

La Via Matildica del Volto Santo

A great route of faith and culture

The Via Matildica del Volto Santo is dedicated to pilgrimage and prayer but also to
discovering the territory.

The route, named after Matilde di Canossa, covers lands that were once under the rule of the Countess and connects to the tracks of San Pellegrino, the protector of travellers. From Mantua, it crosses the Apennines to reach Lucca.

A route steeped in history, monuments and memories that has much to reveal about the
pilgrims that left the Germanic regions heading for Rome. In Lombardy, it passed through Mantua, San Benedetto Po, Borgoforte, Suzzara, Luzzara and Guastalla.

Mantua, its natural beauty made even more enchanting by the hand of Leon Battista
Albert
i, the architect of two of the most important churches of the city. The famous
Renaissance architect worked in Mantua in the middle of the 15th century in the service of the Gonzaga family. From the start, his mission was to ennoble one of the most important cities of the Italian Renaissance.

In the centre of the city, he built the Basilica di Sant’Andrea, the largest church in Mantua, which was completed many years after the death of the architect.

Like the  Temple of San Sebastiano, also the work of Alberti, it has an imposing monumental façade with great visual impact: it displays all his classical architectural knowledge, giving form to really interesting solutions.

The façade of San Sebastiano is a reworking of the elements of a classic temple, while the Basilica di Sant’Andrea was more inspired by a model of an Etruscan-Italian temple. Moving inside, the similarities between the two churches become fewer, especially the plan: the first to a Greek cross layout, the second a Roman cross.

Classicism is also dominant here.

The Polironiano Monastic Complex is also worth a visit. Founded in 1007 by Tedaldo di Canossa, it stands on the island formed by river Po and the river Lirone.
Until 1797, after suppression by Napoleon Bonaparte, the monastery played a prominent role thanks to the religious, political and cultural commitment that arose to the benefit of monasticism.

Inside the complex, the three cloisters that make it up can be visited: the Chiostro dei
Secolari
, Chiostro di San Benedetto and the Chiostro di San Simeone, which gives direct
access to the Chapter House, one of the most ancient and important places of the monastery and its directional centre; inside, it is possible to admire the remains of the tombs of abbots from the 16th century.

The visit continues in the monastic Refectory and, underground, the evocative sixteenth
century Cellars, where examples of agricultural carts are exhibited.

The Museo Civico Polironiano in San Benedetto Po, one of Italy’s major ethnographic museums, displays the material side of the rural culture and society as well as the intangible aspects linked to magic, popular religion, local legends and artistic expressions of the world of the Po Valley.

Finally, the majestic Chiesa Abbaziale can be admired, which was restored between
1540 and 1545 while retaining its ancient Romanesque and Gothic structures.

3 reasons to cover the route:

1. Since July 2008, Mantua has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 2016, MIBACT awarded Mantua the title of Italian Capital of Culture. In 2017, Mantua and its province became part of the European region of Gastronomy-Eastern Lombardy, a project that recognises the best gastronomic regions on the continent.

2. Mantua has hosted great geniuses of the past, such as Leon Battista Alberti, Mantegna and Giulio Romano, the creators of unprecedented architectural and pictorial masterpieces.

3. Mantuan salami, pumpkin tortelli and “sbrisolona”, specialities that can be tasted in one of the many trattorias with typical local cuisine during a break along the route.

On the same topic

Churches in Lombardy

Great works of art are hosted in the churches in Lombardy. In fact, many sacred places are interesting for those who love cultural tourism
  • Religious Tourism
Churches in Lombardy, travel guide

Churches Lodi

Discovering the places of worship of the Lodi area. To fill the spirit between faith and religious art
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Lodi, exploring Lombardy

La via degli Abati

A route rich in history and tradition that runs through a land of utterly unique landscapes, unchanged over time
  • Religious Tourism
La via degli Abati

The Via degli Abati

A route rich in history and tradition that runs through a land of utterly unique landscapes, unchanged over time
  • Religious Tourism
The Via degli Abati

Il Cammin Breve

A "brief" guide to 7 churches in the heart of Milan
  • Religious Tourism
Il Cammin Breve

Candle production in Lombardy’s monasteries

Laboratories and purchases of candles in the Lombardy monasteries
  • Religious Tourism
The monasteries of Lombardy are producing and selling their own candles

Cammini della Regina

Percorsi storici da Coira a Como
  • Religious Tourism
Camini della Regina, religious itineraries from Coira to Como

Churches Lecco

Churches, basilicas and shrines in Lecco and surroundings: a religious heritage between the Romanesque and the Marian cult
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Lecco, ideas for visiting

Churches Monza

A journey discovering the history of the territory through architecture and spirituality.
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Monza, exploring Lombardy

Il Cammino di Santa Giulia

A treasure among treasures of this route: the monastery complex of Santa Giulia
  • Religious Tourism
Il Cammino di Santa Giulia

Monks and beer cross paths in Monza and Buccinasco

Craft breweries in the monasteries of Lombardy
  • Religious Tourism
Craft beer brewing in the monasteries of Lombardy

Lecco: Places and Streets of Faith

The province of Lecco, a treasure trove of faith and culture
  • Religious Tourism
Lecco: Luoghi e Vie della Fede

Via Priula

From the Orobie to the hills of Bergamo Alta.
  • Religious Tourism
Via Priula

From Maiano Sant'Angelo Lodigiano to Ca' de Mazzi

An alternative route for the Fourth Stage of the Monk’s Trail
  • Religious Tourism
From Maiano Sant'Angelo Lodigiano to Ca' de Mazzi

Orio Litta and the Via Francigena

An evocative route that combines nature, faith and art, to explore on foot or by bicycle.
  • Religious Tourism
Orio Litta and the Via Francigena

Churches Bergamo

Bergamo: a city with more beauties than you think. They are silent behind centuries-old facades of churches
  • Religious Tourism
Churches Bergamo, religious tourism

Holy honey

A centuries-old tradition still alive in the abbeys
  • Religious Tourism
Where to buy honey made by monks in Lombardy

Dom Perignon and Franciacorta

The strange story of the most famous wine in the world
  • Religious Tourism
The strange story of the most famous wine in the world

Cammino di Sant'Agostino

Retracing the Way of one of the most important figures of history will give an important new dimension to your awareness of life
  • Religious Tourism
Cammino di Sant'Agostino

Church Varese

From the Sacro Monte of Varese to the hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso, a spiritual path made of artistic and landscape beauties
  • Religious Tourism
Church Varese, what to see