Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy, and capital of the province of the same name.
In 2016, Mantua became Italian Capital of Culture. In 2017, Mantua will also be European Capital of Gastronomy, included in the Eastern Lombardy District.
In 2007, Mantua's centro storico and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family has made it one of the main artistic, cultural, and especially musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera; the city is also known for its architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces, and the medieval and Renaissance cityscape. It is the place where the composer Monteverdi premiered his opera L'Orfeo and where Romeo was banished in Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It is the nearest town to the birthplace of the Roman poet Virgil, who was commemorated by a statue at the lakeside park "Piazza Virgiliana".
Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes, created during the 12th century, as the city's defence system.