We don’t know much about the Baroni Family of Mantua right now, but the story is beginning to unfold.  We recently learned that Angelo Antonio Baroni and Giaele Botolli, great x2 grandparents of Colleen Hayes, were married on 27 June 1895 in Rivarolo Fuori (aka Rivarolo Mantovano), Mantova, Lombardia, Italy.  Mantua is 32 km (32 minutes) Northeast of Rivarolo Mantovano.

Old Map of Mantua, Italy

According to their marriage certificate, Angelo, the son of Carlo Baroni and Lucia Parmelli was born in Mantua on May 14, 1872, but we have not yet secured his birth record.  According to the same marriage record, his father Carlo was also born in Mantua.  Carlo and Lucia had two additional children named Caesar and Ettore.  Both were born in the City of Mantua according to their individual birth records.

Marriage Record of Angelo Antonio Baroni and Giaele Bottoli.

As of now, it looks like at least one generation of Baroni’s called the beautiful City of Mantua home.  Further research may show additional generations called Mantul home also.

The City of Mantua (Mantova)

Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and the capital of the province of the same name.   “Mantua” is an exonym (a name of a place in a foreign language) for “Mantova”, so you may see or hear either name, but  “Mantua” is the name used in the local dialect and in Latin. 

Interestingly, William Shakespeare mentions the city of Mantova using the name “Mantua” in his famous tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”.

Mantua contains many architectural treasures. It is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes formed by the water of river Mincio descending from the Lake of Garda: Lago Superiore, di Mezzo and Inferiore. The fourth lake created in the Middle Ages for the defense of the city, Lake Paiolo, was dried at the end of the 18th century. 

The town was founded around 2000 BC on the banks of the Mincio river, a sort of island among its waters, and in the 6th century BC was an Etruscan village. The name derives from Mantus, an Etruscan god of Hades. 

The Romans conquered Mantua (Mantova) between the first and second Punic wars. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was invaded by Goths, Byzantines, Longobards, and Franks.  It later became a possession of Canossa, whose last ruler was the famous countess Matilde of Canossa (d. 1115). According to the legend, she ordered the construction of the Rotonda di San Lorenzo in Mantua.

In the Middle Ages, Mantua was ruled by several families which became extremely important in the history and culture of Italy. Among them are the Bonacolsi and the Corradi di Gonzaga (or, briefly, Gonzaga; 1328-1708).  The Gonzaga protected art and culture, and hosted several important artists like Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Mantegna, Donatello, Luca Fancelli, and Nicolò Sebregondi.

Austria conquered Mantua after the fall of the Gonzaga and established the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts and the Scientific Theatre, then the town passed under Napoleon’s domain, and was later incorporated in a united Italy by the king of Sardinia.

Places of Interest

Mantua, as was mentioned earlier, the City of Mantua is home to dozens of architectural treasures, including:

  • St. Peter and Paul Cathedral
  • The Ducal Palace
  • Sant’Andrea Basilica
  • The Herbes Square
  • Mantegna’s House
  • St. Sebastian’s Church
  • Merchant’s House
  • St. George’s Castle
  • The Bridal Chamber
  • Broletto Square
  • Te Palace