VILLA REALE DI MONZA
The Villa Reale was built between 1777 and 1780 by the imperial and royal architect Giuseppe Piermarini commissioned by the archduke Ferdinand of Hapsburg, general governor of the Austrian Lombardy, thanks to a substantial funding donated by his mother, the empress Maria Theresa of Austria. The U-shaped plan can be referred to the typical layout of the 18th century Lombard villas. From the central section two lateral wings of the same height extend forward ending with two lower cubic foreparts, the Chapel on the left and the Cavallerizza on the right, delimiting the court of honour. At the front there is a large semicircular courtyard and other two buildings on a tangent to the U-shaped section, destined to service activities, where later on the Teatrino (the little court theatre built by Luigi Canonica at the beginning of the 19th century), the Serrone (the ancient greenhouse for the citrus trees – 1790) and the Rotonda (connecting one of the lateral wings to the greenhouse – 1790) were located. In front of the Serrone, where the ancient citrus garden used to be, the Rose Garden “Niso Fumagalli” was created in 1964.
After the last difficult years of Austrian rule, and with the Unity of Italy, (1862), the villa and the park were donated by Parliament to King Vittorio Emanuele II. The king, in its turn, gave it to his eldest son, Prince Umberto on the occasion of his marriage with Margherita di Savoia. In 1878 Umberto ascended the throne and turned Monza in the summer residence of the court.
This is certainly, a very significant moment in the history of the construction of the villa. The new guests in fact wanted a radical modernization of the building following the neo-rococo style. The work, however, was interrupted by the sudden death of the king by the hand of the anarchist Gaetano Bresci on July 29, 1900. Personal effects were then withdrawn by the royal house and the villa was closed and forgotten. Later, only a long work of restoration was able to return, at least in part, the original appearance.
The Gardens of the Villa Reale, which cover about 40 hectares, surround the buildings of the house and are a priceless heritage in terms of landscape, history, architecture and monuments. Designed by Piermarini, assisted by gardeners sent from Vienna at the behest of Maria Theresa of Austria, the Gardens were begun in 1778, and were the first in Italy to be designed in the “English style”, with alternating trees and lawns, and with grottos, lakes, decorative waterfalls, an artificial hill and a small Doric temple, which is mirrored in the waters of a lake.
The feature that has made the Gardens famous all over the world is the large variety of centuries-old trees: green giants including oaks, cypresses, horse chestnut trees and cedars of Lebanon, whose size and botanical peculiarities make them unparalleled.
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden, in the courtyard in front of the Villa Reale, was planted in 1964 thanks to the industrialist Niso Fumagalli, president of the Associazione Italiana della Rosa, whose aim is to promote the love and passion for this flower. The harmonious and functional rose garden, with its gently rolling terrain, lake and public footpaths, is beautifully integrated into its surroundings.
During the blooming season events and guided tours are organised.