Monza is the perfect example of a small Italian city that almost sounds too good to be true. For a city with only 120,000 people, it packs quite a few attractions.
Monza is located in the Lombardy region right next to Milan. Most people know the city for its Formula One race track, but its history actually dates all the way back to the Roman Empire, where the city was called Modicia.
Even in the past people knew Monza was a great vacation destination. In the 18th century it was the destination of choice for royalty, because of its pleasant summers and healthy climate. Nowadays people still appreciate Monza for her magnificent buildings and architecture. If you are curious about exploring Monza as well, then read on and find out all the exciting things you can do there.
Guest Post by Chris Bell from Meet The Cities
The Monza Cathedral is without a doubt the most beautiful structure in Monza. The construction of this cathedral began roughly in the year 1300, but it wasn’t finished until 380 years later. If you’ve been to the Duomo in Florence, you may see similarities in its Romanesque Gothic architecture. Both cathedrals use marble panels which add a gorgeous color to the buildings. With detailed and colorful artwork covering all the walls on the inside of the cathedral.
Something not to be missed is the frescoes within the Chapel of Theodelinda, which house the Iron Crown of Lombardy. What makes this crown so special is that it contains one of the original nails used for the crucifixion of Christ. While it is not officially a working Cathedral, the Duomo di Monza is a gorgeous testament to the rich history of the city.
One can truly relax and even get lost in this very large park. The Monza Park is a gigantic park that’s about twice the size of Central Park in New York! In fact, it is the largest enclosed park in Europe. Historically the Monza Park was the garden of a royal palace, but today it’s open to all visitors.
As you stroll through the park you will notice vast expanses of lawns where you can take a relaxing stroll, play with your children or simply enjoy the sun. Wooded areas provide shade for beautiful walking trails. A scenic stroll across the river Lambro and across the Ponte Delle Catene should be on everyone’s to-do list. Within the park you will also find several historical villas that invite further exploration of the park.
This iconic racetrack has brought people from across the globe to Monza. This track dates all the way back to 1922, so it predates the formula 1 sport itself. As people have been racing here for almost a century, it’s often considered one of the world’s oldest and most cherished purpose-built racing circuits. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza also hosts plenty of other major events, such as the MotoGP and Superbike World Championship. As long as you have a passion for speed Monza has you covered.
You can’t take a vacation to Italy and then skip on fashion shopping. Luckily Monza lies right next to Milan. This fashion capital is only a 10-minute train ride away, and as the trains run every few minutes, there is no reason not to spend at least a few hours in one of the world’s foremost fashion and design capitals. If you love high-end, designer fashion then look no further. Milan is home to a ridiculous amount of the iconic brands, from Armani and Dolce & Gabbana to Versace and Prada. You can find it all in the vast shopping streets of Milan.
Other sites not to be missed in Milan are stunning cathedrals, the Royal Palace, the Sforza Castle, and the upscale Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Or take a more leisurely approach and simply wander the streets, stop at an outdoor café that catches your fancy and enjoy watching people with a cup of Italian coffee.
The Royal Villa of Monza actually consists of a series of buildings, dating all the way back to about 1777 when the Governor Ferdinand of Habsburg, son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, needed a place to hang his hat during the Austrian rule. And in Monza he found the perfect getaway. It is set on the banks of the Lambro River, nestled quite nicely in the sprawling and lush Monza Park.
Inside the villa you can amaze yourself with the beautiful stucco, paintings, frescoes, high-quality furniture and the diverse temporary exhibitions, while outside you will find the English rose gardens. The gardens are meticulously kept and feature a wide variety of flowers and plants. If you are interested in the incredible luxury that the royalties lived in when they stayed in Monza then it’s certainly worth visiting this iconic landmark.
Go Swimming at Acquaworld
The beach might be a bit too far away from Monza, so you can entertain yourself in this well-known waterpark. Acquaworld is a large park with over 1100 meters’ worth of slides, steam rooms, lazy rivers, water massage spots and more. There are a total of nine different types of slides, from a blood pumping slide of 169 meters tall, to a black mamba slide, where you can go down on a raft. There is something to be found here for everyone, as long as you love water.
Monza is a surprisingly diverse destination for a summer vacation. Whether you are looking for a cultural experience, want to add the latest fashion to your wardrobe or are looking for activities that get your adrenaline going, you can be sure to find it in Monza.
So next time you are planning a trip to North Italy you might want to check out Monza.
Author bio: Chris Bell is an avid traveler from Amsterdam that loves to write travel blogs and city guides at Meet The Cities. Spending most of my time abroad random strangers constantly ask me for directions, which inspired me to write several city guides to show people around town. I quickly found myself blogging as well to show people the hidden gems that can be found across the world.
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