For a two-days trip we suggest exporing the city centre with its historical and artistic monuments the first day and spending the second day at the Villa Reale and the Park of Monza.
By car, by train, by bus or by plane.
We recommend the car park at Piazza Trento e Trieste 1/a, 20900 Monza, at an ideal central position and near the different points of historical and artistic interest of the city.
To reach the city by train: Milan - chiasso, Milan - Lecco or Milan - Zurich lines.
Lombardy's third city as regards the number of inhabitants, Monza is an artistic, historical and cultural jewel that is worth visiting. A very important figure who contributed to its birth was the Lombard queen Theodelinda, who chose this territory to settle its people. Also the name "Monza" is owed her: according to the legend the queen, exhausted after a long ride, fell asleep on the banks of the river Lambro and dremt about a white dove. The bird advised her on the exact place where to build a palace and a chapel in honour of Saint John the Baptist (now the Duomo of Monza). The dove whispered her "Modo" (here in Latin) and the queen answered "Etiam" (yes in Latin). Hence Modoetia, the ancient name of the city of Monza.
FIRST STOP: MONZA AND ITS TREASURE
To begin the tour to discover Monza, we suggest visiting the Duomo of Monza, which is almost 2 minutes far by foot from the car park.
“A weave of events long more than 1400 years, a complex and monumental structure, a very rich display of ornaments and furnitures, a Treasure of priceless values and a plot dense of international relations articulated throughout its history make the Duomo of Monza one of Italy's and Europe's most important ecclesiastical institutions.”
It is worth visiting also to admire the wonderful façade white and blue shaded and recently restored.
Furthermore, the Duomo of Monza keeps the famous Iron Crown in the chapel of Theodelinda, on the left of the main altar. This is Christian West's most important symbol, between faith and myth, which crowned the kings of Italy. A visit not to be missed to discover the history of Monza and the figure of the Lombard queen Theodelinda, even through her life finely depicted by the Zavattaris brothers in the chapel named after them.
Inside the complex of the Duomo of Monza there id the Museo e Tesoro del Duomo di Monza (Museum and Treasure of the cathedral). “A path along more than 1400 years, during which the history of the church is often intertwined with that of the great political and religious institutions in Italy and Europe, in a network of relationships which the collections are a vivid and often spectacular testimony.”
booking is mandatory. Here the link to the website with opening hours and prices and the possibility to book package visits.
The visit to the Duomo, the Museum and the Chapel lasts almost the whole morning. At the end we recommend a walk around the neighbouring streets, where you can admire monuments such as the Arengario, the old town all dating back to the 13th century from which the main streets of the city centre stretches, or the Medieval Tower of Theodelinda set in via Lambro which dates back to the 13th century. It is called also Porta Lambro (Lambro Entrance), because it was used as the entrance door to the city for the goods coming from the river.
For a lunch break in the name of traditional cousine not just of Lombardy, we advise on various restaurants set in the city centre few steps away from the monuments of historic and artistic interest.
SECOND STOP: BETWEEN BEAUTY AND HISTORY
Beyond the points of interest that we presented (Duomo of Monza and Museum of the Duomo), we suggest also a visit to the Musei Civici of Monza (Civic Museums). After being closed for 30 years, in 2014 the Civic Museums of Monza reopened to the public, housed in the medieval complex of the House of the Humiliati. A museum which safeguards the memories of the city and where the collections of the city are kept, from archeological remains to contemporary art.
Another visit that we recommend concerns the Bridges on the river Lambro. A walk along the river to discover the numerous ancient bridges which go over the Lambro. From the monumental Ponte dei Leoni (Lions Bridge) to the oldest Ponte Nuovo (New Bridge) of the 1300. From here it is possible to see the basis of the Medieval walls demolished in 19th century.
The complex of Santa Maria delle Grazie, another jewel which is worth visiting, is a suggestive Franciscan shrine dating back to 1463, when the Observant Friars Minor settled in this peripheral area next to the river Lambro, outside the walls surrounding Monza.
The Cappella Espiatoria (Expiatory Chapel) was designed by the architect Giuseppe Sacconi, who designed also the Althar of the Motherland in Rome. The Chapel rises right on the spot where on the 29th of july 1900 the anarchist Gaetano Bresci assassinated the King of Italy Umberto I of Savoy. The interior is studded with precious mosaics which is worth admiring.
The second day of stay we suggest visiting and exploring the area of the Park of Monza and the Royal Palace. A car park inside the Park and linked to the Royal Palace is available and in the neighbourhoods there are many restaurants, too, satisfying any of your needs.
FIRST STOP: A ROYAL VISIT
The Villa Reale (Royal Palace) is a jewel of the city wanted by the empress Maria Theresa of Austria as the summer residence for her son Ferdinand between 1777 and 1780. The palace is built in neoclassical style and it has almost 700 rooms. A beauty that stands up to the challenge with the most famous Reggia of Caserta or the even more renowned Royal Palace in Versailles.
The new visiting itinerary includes 28 rooms among apartments and halls: an actual journey in history from the Hapsburgs to the Savoys. The visit lasts almost 60 minutes and begins from the entrance hall which leads to the reception rooms at the first piano nobile (first floor) that still show the neoclassical decorations more than other rooms. The visit then continues at the Second Floor with the famous Prince of Neaples' apartment, adapted by the architect Majnoni on the occasion of Vittorio Emanuele II's wedding . The library and its fascinating wooden boiserie made of walnut and the apartments of the King and the Queen follow and the visit ends at the central hall with the wonderful view on the Royal Gardens.
Booking online is recommended (there is also the ticket office at the ground floor inside the Villa Reale). It is possible to visit the rooms of the monumental complex on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm (last entrance at 5.30 pm).
In addition, the Royal Gardens are worth visiting with little ponds, little falls, grottos, numerous special and century-old trees which are behind the palace and link the Villa to the Park of Monza; the Orangerie (or Serrone) with its various species of citrus trees and exotic plants; the Rose Garden with its numeorus varieties of flowers to discover and enjoy. “The layout of the garden presents different thematic sections according to the rose collections planted. Some old varieties are located around the pond, while climbing roses are found along the railings and on the pergola. However, most of the space is dedicated to the roses taking part in the annual Competitions: over 400 virieties created by gardeners from all over the world and judged by international technicians, poets, artists and fashion and television personalities.”
SECOND STOP: DISCOVER AND LIVE THE GREEN LUNG
If you love nature or you are simply looking for a place which gives you tranquility and relax far from the noises of the city, you can't miss a visit to the Park of Monza, Europe's biggest urban walled park with its 700 hectares of green, various historic farmsteads, stone bridges that catch your gaze and monumental trees which is worth admiring. You can visit it by foot or by bike (there is a bike rental service inside). We suggest renting a bike, because this is the best way to visit it, as the park is extremely vast.
Inside the Park there is the much renowned Autodromo of Monza (the Temple of Speed), location of car races as the famous Formula 1 and if you are a motor enthusiastic, you can't miss it.
For further informations:
Infopoint Monza Piazza Trento e Trieste Piazza Trento e Trieste 20900 Monza, MB
Info and Contacts
Tel.: 039 67 914 88
Monday: 08.30-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Tuesday: 08.30-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Wednesday: 08.30-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Thursday: 08.30-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Friday: 08.30-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Saturday: 9.00-12.30 / 13.00-18.00
Infopoint Monza Stazione Via Caduti del Lavoro 20900 Monza , MB
Info and Contacts
Tel: 039 6791781
From Monday to Sunday: 9.00-13.00 / 14.00-18.00
Infopoint Monza Porta Monza (at the entrance of Porta Monza of Monza's Park)
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10.00-18.00
Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10.00-17.30
Photo credits Alessandro Radice