The natural and urban environment

Completing the acquaintance with the old village is the spectacular naturalistic view of Lake Superior. On the right-hand side of the square, at the end of the residential buildings and before the fa├žade of the Sanctuary, a path leads down to the shore of Lake Superiore, or, if you prefer, allows your gaze to admire the Mincio valley, which only after a few kilometres opens up to form the first of Mantua's three lakes.

A spectacular view of the Mincio Valleys, where, on a clear day, you can see the outline of the city of Mantua (some towers and the dome of Sant'Andrea are clearly visible) and, in the distance, the Alps.

The view sweeps over the fields on the two banks and the reed thicket emerging from the water, enlivened in July and August by lotus flowers: a serene landscape frames the Sanctuary, made soaring by its dominant position and by the protrusions of the bell tower with its conical crowning and the pinnacles that manifest its architectural style, Gothic-Lombard. Unfortunately, the large religious complex, with no less than four cloisters, which opened up to the banks of the Mincio River, with a staircase descending to the lake where the river port that linked the village to Mantua was located, has been lost to our days.

Of particular note is the presence of alien species such as the torpedo, the Louisiana crayfish and the nutria, which are endangering the survival of native species. As far as flora is concerned, in addition to the aforementioned lotus (a species originally from India introduced to Mantua in 1921), the sedge meadows, water chestnut (the 'trigoi', or trapa natans), white water lily, hibiscus and marsh irises are noteworthy. The natural space, dominated by the apse of the sanctuary, appears green and unspoilt, a place of rest and well-being.

Returning to the square, on the side opposite the Sanctuary, one can see the Sarto Palace, characterised by a tower with an angel flag. This is an ancient building that, among other things, was inhabited by the brother of that bishop of Mantua, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, who later became Pope under the name of Pius X and who today has risen to the glory of the altars as a saint.

For further information click here: Sanctuary bibliography and insights

Santuario delle Grazie
Pick a flower for the Blessed Virgin Mary of Grace