Real heart of the city it takes its name for being the market place since the Middle Ages. Today it still hosts part of the weekly market on Thursdays. Here you can see the beautiful Palazzo della Ragione (the palace of justice) that was built soon after the Mayor’s Palace. The palace was later added a portico and a tower called Torre dell’Orologio (clock tower) with an interesting clock projected by Bartolomeo Manfredi, Francesco Gonzaga’s court astrologist and mathematician. Precious to the people of Mantua it was used for making horoscopes or just regulating the everyday life.
Beside it, the oldest church in town called La Rotonda. Dedicated to St. Lawrence and commissioned by Matilde of Canossa it was built in 1082. One of the very few circular churches surviving it has a long interesting history and is a fine example of Romanesque architecture. Below street level it was probably built upon the rests of a pagan temple. Inside, an enchanting atmosphere and decorations dating back to the Byzantine period.