Only 10 minutes by train from Milan and on the way to Lake Como, Monza is a great escape from the big city and has a fantastic green space to boot. And it’s completely walkable. Walk from the train station, through the historic center, to the park, and back to the train station. (Note: this circuit, with no stops, would be about 2 hours of walking).
Looking for other options for a quick getaway from the city? Check out these great day trips from Milan.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Monza. I lived there for a year in high school and went to the Liceo Classico Leone Dehon, and have been back many times since to visit friends. Here are the first places I visit whenever I go back:
- Monza’s Romanesque-Gothic Duomo or main church has foundations dating to about 600. The museum inside houses the city’s most famous treasure: the Iron Crown, allegedly made with one of the nails from the crucifixion.
- Go for a stroll, a run, a bike ride or a picnic in Monza’s huge park, which is twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Sundays are perfect for people-watching, because the paths are full of Italian families going for a walk after church, looking their Sunday best.
- Admire the gardens and architecture of the Villa Reale (photo above), a summer palace built in the park in the 18th century by the Royal Hapsburg family of Austria. To visit the inside call (+39) 039 323 222 at least 10 days in advance. If you’re there in June, (bring bug spray and expect crowds, but) the fireworks held around the first day of summer at the Villa Reale are some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen.
- For a few days every September, Monza hosts the Formula One Italian Grand Prix where fast cars compete for first place at the Autodrome.
- Walk along the pedestrian streets in Monza’s historic center to shop, window-shop, or people watch. It’s worth the 2-block detour to walk over the pretty Bridge of Lions or Ponte dei Leoni, seen in the photo above with the church bell tower in the background. And don’t miss the landmark Arengario (photo).
Photo of Villa Reale from www.istockphoto.com; Photo of bridge of lions by maxgiani
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