MANTUA AND SABBIONETA. Mantua (Italian: Màntova About this sound listen (help·info), in the local dialect of Emilian language Mantua) is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the whole country itself. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera, and the city is known for its several architectural treasures and artifacts, elegant palaces or palazzi, and its medieval and Renaissance cityscape. It is also the town where Romeo was banished to in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes created during the 12th century. These receive the waters from the Mincio, which descend from Lake Garda. The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, and Lago Inferiore ("Superior", "Middle", and "Inferior" Lakes). A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once completed a defensive water ring of the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century.Sabbioneta is a town and comune in the province of Mantua, Lombardy region, northern Italy. It is situated about 30 km north of Parma, not far from the northern bank of the Po River. It was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2008.  History Sabbioneta was founded by Vespasiano I Gonzaga in the late 16th century along the ancient Roman Via Vitelliana, on a sandy bank of the Po (whence the name, meaning "Sandy" in Italian; he was its first duke, using it as a personal fortress and residence. It was also during this period that it became a minor musical centre; composers such as Benedetto Pallavicino were employed here by Vespasiano Gonzaga, prior to his moving to the main Gonzaga city of Mantua.  Monuments and landmarks Mantua and Sabbioneta* UNESCO World Heritage Site Galleria degli Antichi State Party Italy Type Cultural Criteria ii, iii Reference 1287 Region** Europe and North America Inscription history Inscription 2008 (32nd Session) * Name as inscribed on World Heritage List. ** Region as classified by UNESCO. In 2008, Sabbioneta was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as a recognition of its perfect example of practical application of Renaissance urban planning theories.