Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

The Bridal Chamber that felt the earth move

There is so much beautiful Renaissance art on display in Italy, you’d be forgiven if some had passed you by. One such masterpiece that’s often overlooked is the painted bridal chamber ‘Camera degli Sposi’, found in the city of Mantua, a stunning, yet lesser-visited part of historic Italy. The chamber is at the heart of the Ducal Palace, and displays an intricate fresco, created by Andrea Mantegna in the mid 15th century. The most inspiring part is the sky blue oculus in the ceiling, with small blushing cherubs peering down into the bridal suite below. 
The fresco was sadly damaged in 2012, when a nearby earthquake and its aftershocks reached the palace. It resulted in the palace’s closure while urgent restoration work was undertaken to repair the northeastern tower and protect the artwork. Thankfully, after hours of painstaking work, the doors are open again and the palace has been restored to its former glory, welcoming visitors from all over the world. 
If you make it to Ducal Palace, it’s worth taking in more than Camera degli Sposi. With over 500 rooms, connected by a maze of corridors, many have equally resplendent renaissance works to discover for yourself, making a trip to Mantua well worth a step off the beaten track.