Carved in two by the River Lambro, Monza is a historic city located north-east of Milan. It’s the most important economic hub in the Brianza area and is famed for its motor racing circuit, which hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix.
Things to do in Monza
In the heart of Monza is the Cathedral of Saint John, a Romanesque-Gothic-style church dominated by a black-and-white marble facade. Topped by a 16th-century bell tower, the cathedral encompasses the Chapel of Theodelinda with its magnificent frescoes. Also within the chapel is the Iron Crown of Lombardy, which is said to incorporate one of the nails used during Christ’s crucifixion.
Sprawling north of the city centre is Parco di Monza, which is one of the largest walled parks in Europe. Dominating its southern corner is the Royal Villa, a lavish Neoclassical palace that was designed by Giuseppe Piermarini for the Habsburgs in the 18th century. Explore its opulent royal apartments and small court theatre, then admire the thousands of rose varieties planted in the English landscape gardens.
At the northern end of the park is the Autodromo Nazionale, a historic Formula 1 racetrack that was laid out in 1922. In addition to providing the setting for the Italian Grand Prix, the “Monza Circuit” also hosts cycling and running events. Adjacent is the Azienda Agricola Fratelli Colosio, a scenic farm where you can get up close to free-roaming goats, donkeys and cows.
Getting around Monza
Monza is around 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Milan and 45 minutes from Malpensa Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect from Milan to the Monza railway station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Monza can easily be explored on foot.