The city of Monza is very close to Milan yet worlds away. Precisely for this distinction, Monza is considered a bridge that connects the chaotic Milanese city life to the quiet of the Brianza hills. Let’s find out how to see the best of Monza in a day!
The Duomo and Theodelinda Chapel
The visit to this magnificent city must, of course, begin from its enchanting historic center. Absolutely not to be missed is the Duomo with its famous Theodelinda Chapel. The Chapel was commissioned by the Lombard queen Theodelinda, who chose Monza as her summer residence. Queen Theodelinda was also the reason the Lombards converted to Christianity. She had a Basilicata built but unfortunately, all that survived of it is held inside the Cathedral Museum together with many jewels and important relics, known as the Treasury of the Duomo. In addition, the iron crown handed down from one ruler to another, including Charlemagne, is kept inside the Cathedral Chapel.
Ponte dei Leoni- Bridge of Lions
From Piazza del Duomo, continuing on Via Lambro, you’ll reach the famous Ponte dei Leoni or Bridge of Lions. This bridge is one of the oldest in Monza and is decorated with four large, marble lion statues. The bridge was constructed on the remains of a Roman bridge that crossed the Lambro River. Pedestrians can walk alongside the river until you reach the old grain mills and wash-houses. You’ll also see the typical ballatoio houses or balcony houses.
Continuing the visit of the historic center, another building worthy of a look is the Palazzo dell’Arengario. It was none other than the ancient town hall. Originally, it was part of a larger complex of buildings which also included the Praetorian Palace. Some of the rooms in this building are dedicated to art or photographic exhibitions, but also to many cultural events.
Another mandatory stop on the itinerary in Monza is the Royal Villa, also called the Royal Palace. No more than twenty minutes on foot from the Arengario, you’ll find this magnificent neoclassical palace. This Royal Palace was none other than the private residence of the Habsburgs which later became the residence of the viceroy during the reign of Napoleon.
Don’t skip the rose garden- it’s stunning!
Monza Park (Parco di Monza) is the fourth largest city park in Europe. The beauty of the greenery here is truly infinite, where you can immerse yourself in long walks or bike rides along the Lambro and then reach the ancient mills.
Inside, there is the famous Autodromo di Monza, the official headquarters of the Italian GP. The racetrack is one of the oldest in the world still in use.
What to Eat in Monza
Monza’s culinary heritage is undoubtedly Lombard and risotto is an integral part of the cuisine. You’ll find it on the menu with local luganega sausage or alongside ossobuco with peas. All the local taverns and restaurants will proudly have these items on their menus.
One thing is certain: Monza is a fascinating city at any time of year!
For more ideas about what to see and do in Lombardy, read on!