MONZA, a city with a long history and many art treasures, acquired a certain importance in the Longobard period when the Catholic Queen Theodelinda chose Monza as the summer residence of her court, also building a palace and subsequently, in 595, a palatine chapel, the first historical nucleus of the Cathedral. One of the most important events in the history of the city was the arrival of the Iron Crown, a masterpiece of Ostrogoth goldsmith’s art that, according to legend, contains a band beaten out of a nail of the True Cross. The Frankish king, Charlemagne, who defeated the Longobards, was crowned King of Italy with the crown, both a symbol of royalty and a relic.
In the twelfth century, Federico Barbarossa chose Monza as the seat of his court. Reconstruction in Gothic style of the Cathedral started in 1330 under the Visconti and also construction of the city walls and Castle. Subsequently, the city was ruled by Francesco Sforza and, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, was fraught by a series of wars, famines and plagues which decimated the area, reducing the territory to a fiefdom. The advent of Napoleon marked the start of construction of the great Royal Park, entrusted to Viceroy Eugenio di Beauharnais. After the debacle of Waterloo, the city was returned to the Hapsburgs who contributed to the construction of new roads with public lighting. Industrial and commercial development began under the Sovereigns of the House of Savoy who reigned until July 29, 1900, when King Umberto I was assassinated. In 1922, the Autodromo Nazionale race track was constructed in the park, carrying the name of Monza all over the world.
The traditional cuisine of Brianza, characterised by dishes and recipes associated with a simple, country lifestyle is based on frugal but substantial ingredients. The typical specialities of the smaller towns and villages and rural communities have been re-discovered recently by restaurateurs offering a higher quality of cooking. The “king” of traditional Brianza cuisine is cassoeula, which can now be found well beyond Brianza itself. Another dish that uses the less noble parts of the pig is tripe, known in Brianza as buseca. A simpler dish, el pan moijaa, is a soup made with chopped lard. Torta paesana (village cake) is certainly one of the best-known traditional cakes, another of those simple dishes found throughout the Lombard countryside. Wine production of a certain importance is tied to the slopes of Montevecchia where production was resumed a few years ago according to the secular tradition of the area but using modern wine-making techniques more aligned with market demands. Therefore, venturing into local culinary traditions means undertaking an imaginary journey through its history, recognising its true nature.
When visiting the city, it is advisable to start from the central Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the marble façade of the church itself and the austere mass of the nearby belfry. The Tree of the Cross fresco is particularly interesting and also Matteo da Campione’s fourteenth century pulpit with relief figures of apostles and evangelists, without forgetting the precious works of art housed in the hypogeum Museum and Treasure of the Cathedral. This comprises a collection considered unique worldwide, not only for the rare and precious materials but also because it makes it possible to trace the historical events of the area and in particular of the Cathedral, from its Longobard foundation to the present day. The Arengario (Town hall) was built towards the end of the thirteen century close to the Cathedral and reflects, also visibly, the contrast between religious and civil power. A short distance away, the new Town Hall, construction of which started in the 1920’s and was completed in 1932, stands as a single impressive monumental block with two internal courtyards and porticoes on one side and faces onto Piazza Trento e Trieste, the recently modernised ancient market square.
Monza also has many historical churches. Santa Maria in Strada, in the heart of the medieval nucleus of the city, founded in the first half of the fourteenth century by Franciscan Brothers Minor, was transformed during the seventeenth century adding a low barrel-vault which replaced the original truss beam ceiling, while the Late Baroque decorations were added in the eighteenth century. Continuing along Via Carlo Alberto, the visitor encounters a fourteenth century church and adjacent convent belonging in the past to the Dominican order and Piazza Carrobiolo with the church of the same name. The church contains frescoes by Andrea Porta and the illusionist painters GiovanBattista and Gerolamo Grandi. Other noteworthy architectural sites include the Church of San Maurizio, that of San Gerardo and the Mulino Colombo, already active in the eighteenth century. Monza is also famed for historical bridges and towers such as that of Via Lambro, the Visconti Tower and its beautiful Royal Park.
Piazza Carducci – Portici Palazzo Comunale
aperto da martedì a domenica dalle 9.30 alle 13.00 e dalle 14.30 alle 17.30
chiuso festività e il Lunedì
Infopoint Giardini Stazione FS
Via Caduti del Lavoro
20900 Monza (MB)
aperto da martedì a giovedì dalle 9.30 alle 12.30
da venerdì a sabato dalle 9.30 alle 13.00
chiuso festività, domenica e Lunedì
The Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track, constructed in 1922 in the north part of the Royal Park, is renowned in the history of car racing as the third circuit in the world after that of Brooklands and Indianapolis.
The Monza circuit was commissioned by the Milan Automobile Club to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its foundation and also because, at that time, the Club was seeking a track worthy of housing the Italian Gran Prix, inaugurated in 1921 on the semi-permanent circuit of Montichiari close to Brescia. The Royal Park of Monza was selected as within easy reach of Milan and inside an already enclosed structure. The circuit comprised a 4.5 km high speed loop featuring two banked curves on a 2.60-m embankment, with a radius of 320 m and which permitted a maximum theoretical speed of 180/190 km/h. The circuit was officially inaugurated on September 3, 1922 in the presence of the Prime Minister Facta with a race between Voiturette class cars won by Pietro Bordino at the wheel of a Fiat 501 racing model. This was followed on September 8 by the motorcycle Gran Prix of the Nations and, two days later, the second Italian Gran Prix also won by Bordino at the wheel of a six-cylinder Fiat 804. Today, the circuit of the Gran Prix measures 5.793 km with a maximum width of 18 m and minimum width of 10 m. The complex also comprises the 2.405 km Junior track and 4.250 km speed track, no longer used. Today, the track is a “temple of speed” for car and motorcycle fans, constantly renovated with cutting-edge technologies, that attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators who crowd the grandstands during the various events staged at the circuit such as the Italian Grand Prix, one of the longest running events on the Formula One calendar, and the Inter-European Historic Cup. Over the years, the race track has broadened its facilities adding a camping site, swimming-pool, a track for model cars and also hosting new activities such as exhibitions, races, car club rallies, conferences, festivals and fairs.
|Mayor: Dario Allevi|
|Official website: www.comune.monza.it|
|Town Hall: Piazza Trento e Trieste – Postal code 20900|
|Surface area: Km2 33,09|