Mantua kept a lot of its old looks.
There are cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, old taverns, and foggy waters (in winter).
Francesco Maria Piave was Giuseppe Verdi’s librettist, and when Verdi asked him to work on Rigoletto, they had to find a suitable city for the story.
For Piave, a Venetian, Mantova was just the place.
There was a Duke, a palace, and as I said a lot of foggy waters.
When visiting Mantua the feeling is there; although Rigoletto was based on the 1832 play Le roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo. Therefore, poor Rigoletto was never in Mantua, nevertheless, we can find there the Duke’s palace, narrow alleys where questionable fellow can be found, Rigoletto’s easy accessible house, and even Sparafucile’s tavern, where Gilda was stabbed to death then to be thrown into the river Mincio.
If you visit Mantua, to fill a break from visiting Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te, you can easily envision Rigoletto’s tribulations thru the streets of Mantua.