How often, as travelers, do we wonder what the inside of an old palazzo looks like, perhaps even fantasizing about a visit in one of its elegant salons. Do frescoes adorn the ceilings and antique carpets cover polished floors? Are the rooms filled with ornate furnishings, fine paintings, and marble sculptures? What stories of the past would these rooms whisper to us?
At the 15th century Palazzo Arrivabene, guests are invited to satisfy these meanderings of curiosity. Immediately upon entering one sees that this palazzo has been cherished for centuries by owners who understand and protect the architectural and artistic treasure that it is. An ornate wrought-iron railing and marble staircase spirals up two floors to an elegant reception room where frescoes do indeed adorn the ceiling. In two expansive interconnecting living rooms with marble fireplaces, sofas are arranged for comfort and leisure, offering a quiet setting in which to enjoy the company of cherished collections of books, paintings and decorative items.
Rooms are fitted out with all modern conveniences, simply decorated with an emphasis on quiet comfort. Breakfast is served in a small dining room where a beautiful table has been set by the owner, who treats her guests to fresh breads and sweets that she has lovingly made herself – cheesecakes and crème brule, and Sbrisolona, a Mantuan specialty. These are offered with fresh fruit and yogurt, steaming coffee, tea, and chilled fruit juices. It is a wonderful way to start one’s visit to Mantua, a city of many treasures, all within walking distance. At the end of the day, one need not fantasize any longer about the beautiful palazzo – a stay at Palazzo Arrivabene allows you to make it your own home even if only for a day.
All images and reviews copyright 2015 by Ginda Simpson
Palazzo Arrivabene B&B
Via Fratelli Bandiera, 20, 46100 Mantova ~ Lombardy, Italy
View from Palazzo Arrivabene ~ Original watercolor painting by Ginda Simpson